Representative Malinowski Statement on Escalating Crisis Between Israel and Hamas

May 13, 2021
Press Release

(Washington, DC) “I am deeply concerned about the escalating situation in the Middle East, and urge the Biden Administration to elevate its efforts to achieve a cessation of hostilities.

This week, Hamas once again hijacked and militarized a Palestinian protest movement by launching a barrage of rockets against Israel. When Hamas fires inherently indiscriminate weapons at populated areas, that is terrorism, a deliberate attempt to kill civilians, threatening Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel alike. No grievance can justify this. 

Israel has a clear right to defend its people against such attacks, including by launching targeted and proportional strikes against those firing the rockets. In the last few days, we have also seen how vital U.S. support for Israel’s defenses is, including through the Iron Dome missile defense system. Such support must continue.

At the same time, every effort should be made to avert an all out war between Israel and Hamas that would increase the suffering of civilians on both sides, and the intensity of communal conflict within Israel. I hope the administration will intensify its engagement with Israel and regional states, including Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, and the countries that normalized relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords, to encourage deescalation and a long-term cease-fire. This effort should be visibly led by the most senior administration officials, who should make clear that a return to yesterday’s status quo is unsustainable and that meaningful signals of progress on a long-term solution must accompany any ceasefire.

I strongly support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But these events are a stark reminder that with no prospect for two states in the foreseeable future, more must be done to ensure that Arab citizens of Israel, including in East Jerusalem, enjoy equal rights and protection of law, and that Palestinians are treated with dignity and respect by the Israeli government and Palestinian authority alike. No one, whether Jewish or Palestinian, should be evicted from homes they have lived in for decades because of claims arising from before the creation of the state of Israel. No one should have to fear mob violence and those inciting it should be held accountable. The status of Jerusalem as a home for multiple faiths should be respected by everyone.

The United States can do its part here by resuming aid to support the education and welfare of ordinary Palestinians, strengthening the capacity of the Palestinian authority to provide security, and advocating for basic human rights, while pressing Palestinian leaders to stop practices that effectively reward terror and rhetoric that inflames the situation further.

This is a moment that demands wise leadership, from the United States and our regional allies, and most of all from Israelis and Palestinians committed to the peace and security that all who share this sacred piece of land deserve.”