WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement regarding the agreement reached between Israel and Hamas to release 50 hostages currently being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip over a four-day long ceasefire:

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“I am relieved and heartened that the deal to release 50 of the 240 hostages being held by Hamas over a four-day ceasefire has been reached, with the possibility to extend the ceasefire by an additional day for every ten hostages released. We cannot rest until every single hostage has been returned to their families and loved ones.

“The ceasefire will also allow essential humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, including food, water, medicine, and fuel. As I’ve said before: it is equally important to support innocent civilians who so often become collateral damage and bear the brunt of suffering during periods of conflict.

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“I know it will be hard, but I hope out of the ashes and pain of this current crisis that there will be a renewed focus on a two-state solution. The United States has a responsibility for a renewed push towards finding a solution that allows Israeli and Palestinian children to once and for all live together in peace and dignity.”

Durbin first called for a ceasefire deal to be reached between Israel and Hamas in exchange for a release of hostages and aid to Palestinians on November 2.

Earlier this week, Durbin joined a number of his Senate Democratic colleagues in a letter to President Biden to work with Israel and international partners to implement a plan that will protect innocent civilian life in Gaza, deliver sustained humanitarian aid, and work toward the long term goals of ending Hamas’s threat, bringing hostages home, and achieving sustainable peace in the region through a two-state solution.

Earlier this month, Durbin led 106 of his colleagues in a letter to President Biden calling on his Administration to designate the Palestinian territories for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and/or authorize Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Palestinians present in the United States.

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