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Durbin calls for a pause in Israel-Hamas conflict | Illinois


(The Center Square) – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, is joining the growing chorus of those calling for a de-escalation in the Israeli-Hamas war.  

Israel invaded Gaza after the Hamas terrorist group carried out a violent sneak attack in Israel, killing more than 1,000 and taking hundreds of others hostage. Israel has since come under growing international pressure to scale back the offensive that has led to the deaths of over 22,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit the region in the coming days. 

The Israeli military confirmed this week that it was pulling thousands of troops out of the Gaza Strip, a move that could temporarily lead to a scale down in the fighting against Hamas. 


French President Emmanuel Macron urged Israel to avoid escalation, particularly in Lebanon. His comments come after Hamas accused Israel of carrying out a strike in Beirut that killed a senior Hamas leader Tuesday. Israel has not claimed responsibility. 

The United States has sent warships to the region, providing protection for Israel and underscoring concerns that the fighting could spread.

Durbin said a halt in the conflict could possibly lead to the release of hostages kidnapped by Hamas members and taken to Gaza.

“These hostages have been subjected to brutal physical and psychological torture,” said Durbin. “Some 115 hostages are believed to still be held, and I have long called for a humanitarian pause by both sides that includes the release of all hostages as quickly as possible.”

The U.S. taxpayer cost of the war continues to escalate. According to The Intercept, the total aid the U.S. will be giving to Israel in 2023 and early 2024 will be about $18 billion. That includes the $3.8 billion in normal annual aid, in addition to $14.5 billion in supplemental aid that’s been passed by the U.S. House and expected in the U.S. Senate.  

Durbin said there are two main objectives that should be met in the near future.

“End the suffering and release the remaining hostages immediately, and the second, finally commit to finding a two-state peace agreement,” said Durbin. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that there was an ultimatum from Hamas on the release of hostages from Gaza and that it has now “softened slightly.” 

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Caleb Alexander

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