Jewish Democrats in Congress call for temporary ceasefire to return hostages, provide aid to Gaza

More than a dozen Democratic Jewish members of Congress issued a letter to President Joe Biden on Thursday urging him to facilitate a temporary ceasefire that ensures the return of all hostages and ends civilian suffering in Gaza. 

“We write to reaffirm the need for your strong leadership in the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attack by Hamas on October 7 and the subsequent devastating violence in the Gaza Strip,” the letter said. 

“As negotiations between Israel and Hamas continue, we urge you to exhaust every effort to facilitate a mutual, temporary ceasefire agreement between them that provides for, among other things, the immediate return of all of the 134 hostages, including six Americans who have been languishing in captivity for months,” according to the letter. 

In the letter, the representatives said the hostages and their families simply could not wait any longer. 

Likewise, the letter said, the situation for the civilian population in Gaza is dire and desperate. 

Palestinians shop in an open-air market near the ruins of houses and buildings destroyed in Israeli strikes during the conflict, amid a temporary truce between Hamas and Israel, in Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip November 30, 2023. (credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)

Massive surge in humanitarian aid

In addition to the hostage release, the representatives call for Israel to stop the violence in Gaza and for Gaza to stop the rocket fire on Israel. The representatives also call on Biden to enable a massive surge in humanitarian aid to Gaza. 

“After that occurs, we can turn our focus toward working with you and our allies to promote ensuring peace in the Middle East through the neutralization of Hamas and the creation of a long sought-after two-state solution,” the letter said, “so that every innocent person in the region, no matter their religious of ethnic background, can live under democratic rule, with freedom, self-determination and opportunity.”

The letter was signed by Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY); Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD); Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Rep. Steven Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), Rep. Becca Balint (D-VT); Rep. Seth Mazainer (D-RI); Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR); Greg Landsman (D-OH); Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY); Rep. Kim Schrier (D-CA) and Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI). 

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