“We urge you to continue your efforts to press the Israeli government to meet these obligations under international law.”

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington (November 3, 2023) - Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging the Biden administration to take additional steps to bring Americans and Hamas-held hostages home, as well as providing necessary relief to the millions of innocent Palestinians trapped in Gaza. The lawmakers reiterated concerns raised in a letter they previously sent about Americans who remain in Israel and Gaza.

“Last week we joined eight of our colleagues in calling for humanitarian pauses to allow full, rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian assistance to those in need in Gaza,” wrote Senators Markey and Warren. “We urge you to continue to work through our partners to provide safe passage for Americans trying to leave Gaza, including a family from Plymouth, Massachusetts with three small children whose father ‘had been waiting in line for bread to feed his family every day until the bombs started narrowing in on his shelter.’”

Earlier this month, Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel, and Israel’s subsequent declaration of war, has left millions of innocent Palestinians at risk of famine, with little to no access to food, water, fuel, and medicine. While the Israeli government pledged to President Joe Biden that it would allow aid to enter Gaza, reports have indicated that aid that has been moved into Gaza has faced distribution challenges and may not have reached the hospitals and other destinations where it is badly needed.

“The fact remains that civilians in Gaza, including our constituents, desperately need more humanitarian aid more quickly as this conflict enters its fourth week,” wrote Senators Markey and Warren. 

In the letter, the lawmakers urged National Security Advisor Sullivan and Secretary Blinken to continue to do everything in their power to provide relief to civilians and support the administration’s call for civilian pauses. While encouraged by reports of a breakthrough to allow some civilians through the Rafah crossing, the lawmakers also requested that the State Department provide a briefing on its ongoing efforts to supply aid, progress on helping Americans exit Gaza, and the safe exit of hostages and reunification with their families.