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Pascrell Supports United States Leadership in the Middle East

Letter to President Biden encourages the return of hostages held by Hamas, urges more humanitarian aid to be delivered to Gaza, safe passage for Palestinians, and prevent further loss of innocent lives.

Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) joined Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-12), Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), Dan Goldman (D-NY-10), and 125 Members of Congress in sending a letter to President Biden supporting United States leadership in the Middle East. The letter underscores specific measures that outline how commitment to Israel’s security and right to respond to terror are not incompatible with a commitment to the humanitarian needs of the innocent people of Gaza.

“We are grateful as well for your clear statements regarding the fundamental importance of ensuring that the humanitarian needs of the civilian population of Gaza are met, and that all possible steps are being taken to ensure the safety of civilians and noncombatants in the Strip,” wrote the Members. “Reportedly, more than 3,000 people have been killed and more than 9,700 wounded in Gaza, making it imperative that we act immediately to prevent further loss of innocent lives. We agree with you that Israel’s response must be in accordance with international law and our shared democratic values.”

“We support the efforts that Secretary Blinken and your entire administration are making to ensure that the basic necessities of life for Gaza’s civilians are available, such as food, water, and medicine,” the Members continued. “In addition, we must enable those civilians and noncombatants who want to seek refuge temporarily in safe zones in southern Gaza to be given safe passage, and to ensure that they have the ability to return to their communities in Gaza when the war is over.”

In addition to Pascrell, Connolly, Nadler, Raskin, and Goldman, the letter was signed by the following Members of Congress: Foushee, Lee, Slotkin, Robert Garcia, Kamlager-Dove, Carbajal, Caraveo, Kaptur, Spanberger, Doggett, Hank Johnson, McClellan, Fletcher, Deluzio, Courtney, McCollum, Danny Davis, Schakowsky, McGovern, Waters, Wild, Bonamici, Watson Coleman, Adam Smith, Escobar, Blumenauer, Mullin, McGarvey, Crockett, Auchincloss, Houlahan, Jacobs, Swalwell, Grijalva, Beyer, Pettersen, Kuster, Budzinski, Casten, Blunt Rochester, Cherfilus-McCormick, Beatty, Magaziner, Sorensen, Salinas, Porter, Castro, Wexton, Lieu, Williams, DeGette, Allred, Lynch, Thanedar, Sewell, Cartwright, Dean, Takano, Perez, Levin, Strickland, Garamendi, Larson, Himes, Tokuda, Hoyer, Neguse, Foster, Sylvia Garcia, Evans, Sanchez, Espaillat, Gomez, Sherrill, Chu, Bobby Scott, Trahan, Phillips, Pingree, Balint, Crow, Schiff, Quigley, DeSaulnier, Stansbury, Matsui, DelBene, Schrier, Keating, Eshoo, Vasquez, Moulton, Lofgren, Frost, Panetta, Pappas, Barragan, Horsford, Brownley, Cohen, Scholten, Ross, Ruiz, Cardenas, Menendez, Meng, Casar, Sarbanes, DeLauro, Larsen, Krishnamoorthi, Kilmer, Leger Fernandez, Castor, Manning, Moskowitz, Sherman, Schneider, Wasserman Schultz, Frederica Wilson, Jackson Lee, Gottheimer, Landsman, Dingell, Case, and Frankel.

Full text of the letter is available here and below.

Dear President Biden,

We write to thank you for your strong leadership during a tragic and dangerous moment in the Middle East. The horrific attack on October 7 against Israel by the terrorist organization Hamas took the lives of over 1,400 people, injured over 3,000 more, and resulted in the capture of nearly 200 people – including many American citizens – who are being held as hostages in Gaza. You have rightly condemned these actions as pure evil and expressed the United States’ steadfast support for our ally Israel in a moment of need and horror.

We stand with you in supporting Israel and are ready to provide whatever assistance the state and people of Israel need to defend themselves and to ensure that hostages return home and those who perpetrated these crimes against humanity are held accountable.

We are grateful as well for your clear statements regarding the fundamental importance of ensuring that the humanitarian needs of the civilian population of Gaza are met, and that all possible steps are being taken to ensure the safety of civilians and noncombatants in the Strip. Reportedly, more than 3,000 people have been killed and more than 9,700 wounded in Gaza, making it imperative that we act immediately to prevent further loss of innocent lives. We agree with you that Israel’s response must be in accordance with international law and our shared democratic values.

We support the efforts that Secretary Blinken and your entire administration are making to ensure that the basic necessities of life for Gaza’s civilians are available, such as food, water, and medicine. In addition, we must enable those civilians and noncombatants who want to seek refuge temporarily in safe zones in southern Gaza to be given safe passage, and to ensure that they have the ability to return to their communities in Gaza when the war is over.

A commitment to Israel’s security and right to respond to terror is not incompatible with a commitment to the humanitarian needs of the innocent people of Gaza. Indeed, you are correctly charting a path that promotes American values and interests when we pursue both goals together.

We further support the efforts that your administration is undertaking to prevent the conflict from escalating to other fronts in this war, including to Israel’s north, as evidenced by the decision to deploy carrier strike groups to the Eastern Mediterranean. In particular, we urge your administration to work closely with Israel and regional partners to ensure stability on the West Bank and to prevent any escalation of violence in that region.

Even after this war between Israel and Hamas is over, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians cannot be solved ultimately by any military means. When this crisis ends, your leadership together with regional partners will be needed to create a path to a sustainable future because, as you have so often pointed out, both Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of freedom, security, opportunity and dignity. There will never be an end to the violence until that goal is achieved, and we know that the United States will have a significant role in the pursuit of the peaceful coexistence between Israel and its neighbors.

Thank you again for your steady and determined leadership at this critical time. We look forward to continuing to work with you in defense of Israel and, ultimately, in pursuit of peace in the Middle East.

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