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Dick Durbin first US Senator to back Gaza ceasefire

November 2, 2023 at 7:31 pm

Senator Dick Durbin speaks during the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense in Washington DC, United States on May 11, 2023. [Celal Güneş – Anadolu Agency]

Dick Durbin became the first US Senator, Thursday, to endorse a ceasefire to halt hostilities in Gaza, Anadolu Agency reports.

But he conditioned his support on Hamas first releasing the more than 200 hostages it took to the coastal enclave following its 7 October cross-border attacks.

Durbin, the Democratic Senator from the state of Illinois who has served for more than two-and-a-half decades in the federal legislature, was asked during a CNN interview if a ceasefire is needed now.

I think it is, at least in the context of both sides agreeing. For example, the release of those who have been kidnapped should be part of this – immediate release. That should be the beginning of it

he said.

The effort should be made to engage in a conversation between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Let’s face it: this has gone on for decades. Whatever the rationale from the beginning, it has now reached an intolerable level. We need to have a resolution in the Middle East that gives some promise for the future

he added.

Durbin said he has not yet communicated his position to US President, Joe Biden. Biden has resolutely resisted calls for a ceasefire but personally endorsed a smaller-scale humanitarian “pause” Wednesday which would allow for the delivery of badly-needed humanitarian assistance and facilitate the departure of those seeking to flee the violence.

Biden made the announcement after being interrupted by a Rabbi during a speech in the state of Minnesota.

“As a Rabbi, I need you to call for a ceasefire right now,” the heckler, identified as Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg, shouted while Biden was speaking.

Biden responded, saying, “I think we need a pause. A pause means give time to get the prisoners out.”

“I’m the guy that convinced Bibi to call for a ceasefire to let the prisoners out. I’m the guy that talked to Sisi to convince him to open the (Rafah border) door,” he added, referring to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, respectively.

Biden’s senior officials have said a ceasefire would only benefit Hamas.

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