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Phillips Statement on Ending the Bloodshed of Israelis and Palestinians and a Future of Peace

Washington, D.C. — Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, released the following statement on the despicable Hamas terrorist attack in Israel on October 7, the resulting human tragedy in Gaza, and the never ending, seventy-five year cycle of bloodshed that must come to an end and be replaced with a mutual future of security, safety, and prosperity:

“On October 7th Hamas, an Iranian-backed Foreign Terrorist Organization, broke a de-facto ceasefire, invaded Israel, murdered and butchered over 1,200 Israelis, and kidnapped over 220 individuals who are now being kept as hostages: including women, children, and the elderly. It was the worst massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust at the hands of an enemy of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Israel has every right and expectation to target Hamas terrorists and dismantle their capability of destroying the State of Israel. But that response has taken an unacceptable toll on Palestinian civilians, many of whom are subject to Hamas terror – not supporters of it. Many thousands of innocents have been killed, and access to food, water, and electricity has been severely limited.

The cycle of bloodshed is the result of persistent attacks by Israel’s neighbors and enemies on its fundamental right to exist and on its citizens, Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike, since its founding in 1948 after the Holocaust – as well as policies of oppression and illegal settlement on Palestinian lands that have only been exacerbated by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

The cycle of violence, which has claimed untold thousands of innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives, will not be addressed by leaders of the past who have been in positions of power for the better part of half a century.

To end the bloodshed and plant seeds of peace, the following five steps must be taken immediately:

  1. All 200+ people being held hostage by Hamas terrorists, including nine American citizens, must be immediately released.
  2. Upon the safe release of hostages, an immediate and mutual ceasefire of large-scale military operations and indiscriminate terror must be initiated and upheld by both parties.
  3.  A multi-national peacekeeping force must be deployed to Gaza, to include trusted, regional nations best positioned to maintain security and support humanitarian and reconstruction efforts.
  4.  Concurrently, a multi-national coalition, including the United States, must unite to eliminate the Hamas militant terror organization and begin immediate investments in a democratic civil society in Gaza and the West Bank to empower a new generation of Palestinian leaders committed to peace, prosperity, and the development of a new Palestinian nation.
  5.  And finally, Israelis must call for elections and demand from their government a commitment to a future of mutual security, peace, and prosperity for both peoples.

It may not be easy or expeditious, but self-determination, dignity, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians must be a clarion call for the entire world. Now is time to take courageous steps towards peace, not with leaders of the past, rather with spirited, energized, and peace-loving leaders of the future."