By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A coalition of Democratic senators, including Joe Biden, are calling on President Biden to take action to assist civilians in Gaza by advocating for Israel to reopen a major border crossing for humanitarian aid.
The senators emphasized that eliminating the threat posed by Hamas and protecting civilians are not conflicting goals, and highlighted the requirement of International Humanitarian Law to safeguard civilians during armed conflict.
The letter, led by Senators Tammy Baldwin, Tim Kaine, and Chris Van Hollen, and signed by at least eight other Senate Democrats, was sent amid the Biden administration’s efforts to negotiate the release of some of the hostages taken by Hamas during a destructive incursion from Gaza into Israel on Oct. 7.
The coalition highlighted the significant loss of life and displacement of civilians following the assault, underscoring the urgent need for humanitarian aid. They expressed concern about the escalating suffering in Gaza and its potential impact on regional security. U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths echoed the call for humanitarian aid into Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Alistair Bell)