WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) issued the following statement in reaction to the four-day ceasefire brokered between Israel and Hamas and agreed release of 50 hostages:
“The ceasefire or temporary cessation of hostilities that was brokered between Israel and Hamas is a much-needed signal of progress and an important step towards safety and security for all civilians. Thanks to the efforts of President Biden, the government of Qatar, and other important partners, this deal includes a four-day ceasefire, the release of 50 hostages taken by Hamas, as well as the critically important delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza. It is my sincere hope that this temporary ceasefire will extend further and ensure the release of every single hostage, as well be the beginning of a negotiated permanent ceasefire and the development of a political solution so that Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side with security and self-determination.
“Since October 7th, I have condemned Hamas for the horrific terrorist attack in the worst violence on Jews since the Holocaust. I have agreed that Israel has a right to self-defense, as long as its efforts follow international humanitarian law. I also called for a ceasefire shortly after, believing that this would be the only way through this crisis without killing thousands more innocent Palestinian civilians and preserving the possibility of any political solution for peace in the Middle East. I have called numerous times for the immediate release of every single hostage that was taken. Today, I am grateful to hear that 50 of those hostages will return to their loved ones and I continue to call for the immediate release of all of the rest of the hostages. I have spent the last few weeks meeting with multiple families of hostages, feeling their palpable pain and anxiety over loved ones they have not even determined are still alive.
“I have been clear that aid must immediately flow in large quantities into Gaza to tend to the sick and dying, children and adults. I am encouraged by the fact that this agreement will allow for much-needed food, water, fuel, and other humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. This is critical not only for the self-interest of Palestinians but also for the revival and the survival of Israel.
“But our work is not done. We must continue to do everything in our power to immediately ensure the release of the hostages that remain. We need to work with Israel to ensure that the bombing of innocent civilians stops and that Israel follows international humanitarian law. We need a long-term, strategic roadmap to ensure a political settlement to the cycle of violence that allows both Israelis and Palestinians to begin to rebuild humanity with each other and agree to a long-term solution. We must do everything possible to stop the extreme settler violence in the West Bank against Palestinians. We must build an international coalition that can eradicate Hamas and allow new legitimate leadership to emerge for the true governance of Palestinians. Finally, we must continue to condemn the rising antisemitism and Islamophobia that we have seen worldwide and in the US as a result of this conflict.
“This ceasefire is an opportunity to negotiate toward a lasting peace and advance diplomatic discussions. As the largest funder of military aid to Israel, the US has significant leverage. If Israel continues to violate international humanitarian law after the ceasefire ends, we must proactively use every piece of leverage and tool in our toolbox, including the conditioning of offensive military support to Israel. The situation is far too urgent for anything else.”
Jayapal first called for a ceasefire or, at a minimum, a cessation of hostilities on October 17.