Mar 1, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Pro-Israel Democrats push Biden for temporary Gaza ceasefire

Rep. Brad Schneider, wearing a blue suit, blue shirt, blue tie and glasses, standing at microphones in front of the U.S. Capitol.

Rep. Brad Schneider. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images.

A group of several dozen pro-Israel House Democrats on Friday wrote to President Biden endorsing a temporary ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign of Democrats' growing apprehension towards the conflict, which has killed thousands of Palestinian civilians.

What they're saying: "A temporary pause in fighting will not only help release the hostages and give desperately needed relief to the millions of civilians displaced by this war, it can also open a path to permanently ending the conflict," the lawmakers wrote.

  • The letter, led by Reps. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) and Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), is signed by 29 mostly moderate, pro-Israel Democrats.
  • Many of the signers have broken away from their party at times in support of Israel, most notably on an Israel-only aid bill last month.
  • The letter was first reported by Punchbowl News.

State of play: The letter comes just one day after dozens of Palestinians were killed in an incident around an aid convoy.

  • After expressing optimism earlier this week that a ceasefire could be reached over the weekend, President Biden warned on Thursday that the episode could complicate the talks.

Reality check: The lawmakers' sentiment may fall on deaf ears in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back on Democrats' mounting criticism toward how his government has conducted the war.

  • Pointing to polling that shows overwhelming U.S. support for Israel, Netanyahu said Tuesday: "This gives us more backing to continue the war until the total victory."
  • Other polling has shown that Americans believe Israel's actions have gone too far, Axios' Barak Ravid reported.

Zoom out: The lawmakers wrote that a pause in the fighting would allow attention to turn to "recovery in the region" and could eventually pave the way for a "viable, democratic Palestinian state."

  • "To achieve this outcome, the United States must work with Palestinians, Israelis, Egyptians and our allies to create a provisional recovery administration to secure Gaza until a permanent government can be established," they said.
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