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Chair Cardin Calls on International Community to Pressure Hamas to Accept Deal to Bring Hostages Home, Pause Hostilities

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement calling on the international community to apply pressure on Hamas to accept the current deal to ensure hostages can be returned home safely and stop hostilities in Gaza.

“I urge the international community to use maximum leverage to pressure Hamas to accept the current deal on the table that brings hostages home and brings a pause in hostilities in Gaza for an extended period. The United States and our partners have demonstrated strong leadership in seeking to secure this deal – it is time for the international community to stand united behind it, and for Hamas to say yes. Every day that passes is another day that hostages languish in Gaza, and that families live through the torment of missing their loved ones. Enough. Hamas must release them all now.

“Hamas’ delay is a stark reminder of who started the conflict that has roiled the region for the last six months. It is Hamas who perpetrated the heinous terrorist attack on October 7. It is Hamas that has repeatedly shown its callous disregard for innocent Israeli and Palestinian life.

“The international community should also be clear and unified on this point: Hamas is responsible for the death or injury of any hostage held in captivity, full stop.  We cannot lose sight of the fact that the hostages are in Gaza due to the brutal actions of Hamas and they bear the sole responsibility to ensure their safety and wellbeing while in captivity.

“This deal also is essential to address the horrific humanitarian crisis that has unfolded in Gaza, especially to aid Palestinians already at risk of, or already suffering from, famine. We must continue to marshal resources to provide desperately-needed assistance to the innocent people of Gaza and build regional support for Palestinian-led governance in Gaza free of Hamas’ brutality and corruption. Likewise, I will continue to urge the Israeli government to allow for an immediate and sustained surge of humanitarian assistance into Gaza, and take all the steps that has been asked of it by the humanitarian community, the United States, and others. Again, there must be no delay. It is time to do all that is necessary to ease the pain of innocent civilians.”