Merkley Calls for Humanitarian Pauses, Fuel Deliveries to Save Lives Amid Crisis in Gaza

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called today for urgent action to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza through two joint statements.

The first statement calls for humanitarian pauses to allow aid to flow and the unconditional release of all remaining hostages:

“Israel has a right to defend its citizens after Hamas’s terrorist attacks, which have driven the region into turmoil and cost thousands of lives. The war in Gaza has become a humanitarian crisis and has claimed the lives of innocent Palestinians. As the United States put forward at the United Nations, we are calling for humanitarian pauses to allow full, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian assistance for civilians and the immediate, unconditional release of all remaining hostages,” the Senators wrote.

In addition to Senator Merkley, this statement was co-signed by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Raphael Warnock (D-GA).

The second statement calls for lifesaving deliveries of fuel to Gaza, along with full transparency, oversight, and tracking to ensure it is not diverted to Hamas:

“We condemn Hamas’ horrific terrorist attacks against Israel, for which Israel must hold Hamas accountable. In the course of that endeavor, every effort must be made to protect innocent civilians. Right now, hospitals in Gaza are hours away from running out of fuel that powers ventilators, incubators for babies, and other lifesaving equipment, and without power to treat and pump clean drinking water, diseases are rapidly spreading. To prevent a potential health crisis and help save countless lives, we believe it is possible to transport fuel directly to these hospitals, desalination plants, and water pumping stations with full transparency to prevent diversion to Hamas. There are extensive oversight and tracking mechanisms in place that will ensure the fuel is delivered directly to the intended sites where it can be used immediately to prevent the deaths of innocent civilians, including babies and children. We encourage the Biden administration to work with our Israeli, Egyptian, and UN partners to enable these lifesaving deliveries,” the Senators wrote.

This statement, in addition to Senator Merkley, was co-signed by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Peter Welch (D-VT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).