Washington, DC – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) today released the following statement in support of President Biden’s call for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to a 72-hour pause in the Israel-Hamas War to accelerate the release of the 240 hostages held by Hamas and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to innocent Gazan civilians.

“I strongly endorse President Biden’s call for Prime Minister Netanyahu to agree to a 72-hour pause in fighting to allow for progress in releasing some of the hostages held by Hamas and to establish essential information about the identities and well-being of those persons being held captive.  Hamas’s capture and kidnapping of more than 240 hostages—from a nine-month-old infant to pregnant women to people in their 80s, including Holocaust survivors—constitute a continuing crime against humanity and every day they are in captivity is a nightmare for them and their families and friends.  Since October 7, I have met with families of the hostages and am moved by their tenacity in the face of overwhelming uncertainty. I join them in saying that the release of the hostages—who are innocent civilians and noncombatants—is an urgent imperative and must be a paramount policy priority for our nation and Israel.

“Today’s revelation that a near-deal for release of up to 50 of the hostages collapsed when Israel launched its ground invasion shows the dangers of trying to free the hostages while military hostilities continue. A 72-hour pause will allow for concrete progress in bringing them home to their desperate families. 

“A 72-hour pause in hostilities will also provide an opportunity to break the dynamics of lethal violence affecting innocent civilians in Gaza and to accelerate and expand humanitarian assistance, including water, food, medicine and fuel, to this besieged population.

“I thank the President for this significant humanitarian initiative and urge Prime Minister Netanyahu and the people of Israel to take this important step to save innocent lives.”