WASHINGTON - Democratic lawmakers on Sunday widely demanded an immediate cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians amid the latest round of violence.
Twenty-eight Democratic senators, led by Sen. Jon Ossoff, and eight House Democrats issued joint statements calling for a swift end to the flare-up in order to prevent a further loss of life.
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“To prevent any further loss of civilian life and to prevent further escalation of conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories, we urge an immediate cease-fire,” the senators said.
The first-term Georgia senator was joined by his colleagues, Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
“The recent outbreak of violence in Israel and Gaza has led to hundreds of casualties. Innocent lives have been lost. It is of the utmost necessity that an immediate cease-fire be put in place and further bloodshed averted. The alternative is an unfolding human tragedy of unimaginable dimensions," Reps. David Price (D-NC), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Peter Welch (D-VT), John Yarmuth (D-KY), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) said in a joint statement.
“Long-deferred issues demand attention, but a cease-fire comes first. We urge the Biden administration, at the highest levels, to boldly lead and take decisive action,” they added.
Murphy also joined his Republican colleague Sen. Todd Young in issuing the first bipartisan call for a cease-fire. “Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas’ rocket attacks, in a manner proportionate with the threat its citizens are facing. As a result of Hamas’ rocket attacks and Israel’s response, both sides must recognize that too many lives have been lost and must not escalate the conflict further," said Murphy and Young, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism.
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"We are encouraged by reports that the parties are exploring a ceasefire. We hope that this ceasefire can be reached quickly and that additional steps can be taken to preserve a two-state future."
The calls for an immediate cease-fire and increased engagement from the Biden administration come after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with his counterparts from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and France over direct and indirect efforts at deescalating tensions.
Blinken tweeted "the violence must end immediately" following his conversations — the strongest tone yet adopted by the Americans concerning the ongoing violence. Earlier in the day, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield stopped short of demanding a cease-fire at the UN Security Council, instead saying that the U.S. "has made clear that we are prepared to lend our support and good offices should the parties seek a cease-fire."
Biden said in a pretaped video marking the Muslim Eid holiday that his administration is working with Palestinians and Israelis to achieve a sustained calm.