Press Release

Ahead of President Biden’s Trip to Israel, Sens. Welch, Schatz, and Van Hollen Urge Administration to Reinforce Humanitarian Protections in Gaza 

Oct 17, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Peter Welch (D-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) yesterday sent a letter to President Joe Biden ahead of the President’s meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to reinforce the importance of protecting civilians and the need for immediate humanitarian aid into Gaza—including providing civilians with water, food, electricity, fuel, and medicine.

Earlier this week, the Senators issued a joint statement condemning Hamas for its brutal actions against Israel and calling for protections for the two million people trapped in Gaza.  

Read and download the letter here

Mr. President, 

You have expressed eloquently our horror at the brutal terrorist attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians, including women, children, parents, and grandparents. We share your unequivocal condemnation of these terror attacks and kidnappings. 

We stand with you in full support of Israel’s right to defend itself, in accordance with international law, and support the provision of additional military assistance to reinforce that mission in this moment of maximum peril. 

As you have stated, “democracies like Israel and the United States are stronger and more secure when we act according to the rule of law.” As you prepare to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, we urge that every effort be made to avoid civilian harm and to allow access to humanitarian aid for those in need, including but not limited to:  

1, Restoring access to food, electricity, water, fuel, and medicine for the approximately two million Palestinian civilians living in Gaza, including more than one million children, who are victims themselves of Hamas’ oppressive rule;  

2. Establishing a humanitarian corridor immediately to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza and safe passage for U.S. citizens who seek safety outside Gaza; and 

3. Mitigating the destruction of Palestinian homes in Gaza from which they are being urged to flee so they may return to live when hostilities end, as well as other civilian infrastructure.  

Finally, as anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim incidents of hate rise in the United States amidst this conflict, we urge you to take whatever steps are necessary to protect vulnerable communities. We must remain united in our commitment to rejecting hate and upholding human rights, as well as to a just and lasting peace in the region.