Washington (May 14, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement as deadly violence between Israel and Gaza increases and Israel reportedly prepares for a ground invasion of Gaza.
“I am deeply alarmed by the deadly violence taking innocent lives in Gaza and Israel,” said Senator Markey. “Rather than escalating this violence in a way that would cost hundreds, even thousands more civilian lives, Israel must seek an immediate ceasefire. It would be unconscionable for Israel to undertake an overwhelming ground attack that would impact defenseless Palestinian families who are already living in fear for their lives and the lives of their children. Israel wields a disproportionate military power, and it has a responsibility to take steps to de-escalate this crisis. Secretary of State Blinken was right when he said earlier this week, Israel holds an “extra burden” on it to prevent the loss of innocent Palestinian lives.”
“The Biden administration must intensify its engagement in the region and make it clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that a ground invasion of Gaza does not have U.S. support, and that he must do everything he can to secure a ceasefire and ramp down tensions.”
“There is no justification for Hamas’s bombardment of Israeli civilians with rocketfire, and they too have a responsibility to de-escalate and protect civilians. There is no question that actions in Israel over the last few weeks, including attempts to forcibly remove Palestinians living in Sheikh Jarrah, as well as a violent raid by Israeli authorities on the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, were wrong and have led to this current crisis. The current situation demonstrates the importance of seeking a lasting peace agreement to achieve a two-state solution. We cannot ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people who lack a viable government or leadership to represent their interests.”
“We need an immediate ceasefire, and over the coming days and months, the U.S. must engage more heavily in the region to protect civilian lives and to facilitate a lasting peace that allows Palestinians to live with dignity in their own state.”