Michigan Lawmakers react to calls for ceasefire in Gaza Strip

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A man walks past the the rubble of the Yazegi residential building that was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City, Sunday, May 16, 2021. The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation held an emergency virtual meeting Sunday over the situation in Gaza calling for an end to Israel’s military attacks on the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – President Joe Biden called for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in a call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

Michigan lawmakers in Washington have reacted to the calls for ceasefire.

“The images we’ve seen out of the Middle East are gut-wrenching,” said Senator Gary Peters in a statement. “For both Israelis and Palestinians, families losing loved ones, children living under constant fear of attack, livelihoods shattered – the human toll is simply heartbreaking. I agree with President Biden’s support for a ceasefire and urge his Administration to continue working with our allies to de-escalate this conflict and establish a meaningful peace.”

Senator Debbie Stabenow released a statement on Thursday regarding the violence, saying:

“What is happening on the ground in Jerusalem, Gaza, and throughout Israel is horrifying. Leaders in the region and in the United States must appeal for calm and call for a ceasefire for the sake of Israeli and Palestinian civilians and families who are caught in the crossfire.”

This list will be updated as more Michigan lawmakers react to the calls for ceasefire.


Background (via AP):

Netanyahu told Israeli security officials late Monday that Israel would “continue to strike terror targets” in Gaza “as long as necessary in order to return calm and security to all Israeli citizens.”

As the worst Israeli-Palestinian fighting since 2014 raged, the Biden administration has limited its public criticisms to Hamas and has declined to send a top-level envoy to the region. It also had declined to press Israel publicly and directly to wind down its latest military operation in the Gaza Strip, a six-mile by 25-mile territory that is home to more than 2 million people. Cease-fire mediation by Egypt and others has shown no sign of progress.

Separately, the United States, Israel’s top ally, blocked for a third time Monday what would have been a unanimous statement by the 15-nation U.N. Security Council expressing “grave concern” over the intensifying Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the loss of civilian lives. The final U.S. rejection killed the Security Council statement, at least for now.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking in Denmark on the first stop of an unrelated tour of Nordic countries, said Monday the United States was ready to spring in to help if Israel and Hamas signal interest in ending hostilities — but that the U.S. wasn’t demanding that they do so.

“Ultimately it is up to the parties to make clear that they want to pursue a cease-fire,” Blinken said. He described U.S. contacts to support an end to the fighting, including the calls he was making midair between his Nordic stops.

Progressive Democrats have been more outspoken in demanding pressure on Israel — and Republicans and conservative Democrats comparatively quiet, for a politically fraught U.S. issue like support for Israel — as the death toll has mounted.

Rep. Cori Bush, a Missouri Democrat, linked Palestinian issues to those of Black Americans.

“We oppose our money going to fund militarized policing, occupation, and systems of violent oppression and trauma,” Bush tweeted.

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, took the Senate floor on Monday to assail lawmakers for including Israel in their demands for a cease-fire.

“To say that both sides, both sides need to de-escalate downplays the responsibility terrorists have for initiating the conflict in the first place and suggests Israelis are not entitled to defend themselves against ongoing rocket barrages,” McConnell said.

In a shot at Democrats, McConnell said, “The United States needs to stand foursquare behind our ally, and President Biden must remain strong against the growing voices within his own party that create false equivalence between terrorist aggressors and a responsible state defending itself.”

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., led 19 Republican senators releasing a resolution supporting Israel’s side of the fighting. They plan to try to introduce the legislation next week.

Blinken also said Monday he had asked Israel for any evidence for its claim that Hamas was operating in a Gaza office building housing The Associated Press and Al Jazeera news bureaus that was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike over the weekend. But he said that he personally had “not seen any information provided.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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