20 US lawmakers urge President Joe Biden to extend Gaza ceasefire

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WASHINGTON: United States President Joe Biden received a letter from more than 20 Michigan lawmakers urging him to “advance a lasting ceasefire” between Israel and the Hamas militant group, reported The Hill.

The letter comes in lieu of the announcement of a temporary four-day ceasefire in Gaza in return for the safe transfer of 50 hostages taken by Hamas during the October 7 attack. The ceasefire was announced in a statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

A post shared on Netanyahu’s X, formerly Twitter, page stated, “Tonight, the Government has approved the outline of the first stage of achieving this goal, according to which at least 50 hostages – women and children – will be released over four days, during which a pause in the fighting will be held.”

Similarly, the US President, taking to his social media X, declared that he was glad the deal was secured, adding that he was grateful that the hostages would be reunited with their families. “I welcome the deal to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas during its brutal assault against Israel on October 7th.” The US president said. “I’m gratified that these brave souls, who have endured an unspeakable ordeal, will be reunited with their families once this deal is fully implemented.”

The lawmakers said that the temporary ceasefire deal between the two sides is a “positive step forward”. However, Michigan lawmakers still believe that this is not a sufficient enough deal., reported The Hill. The letter sent by the state lawmakers noted that international organizations — including the United Nations, World Health Organization, and UNICEF- faith leaders, elected officials, and community leaders have all called for a ceasefire in the conflict, urging for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

“Some aid has been able to enter Gaza since October 21, but there continue to be insufficient supplies of water, food, medicine, and blood,” the letter reads. “According to the World Health Organization, 20 of Gaza’s hospitals are no longer functioning. Over 1 million residents have been displaced from their homes in Gaza, leading to a growing humanitarian crisis.”

The letter also highlights some of the atrocities that have been committed in Gaza, mentioning that many of the actions that have taken place” are prohibited by the Geneva Convention. The letter was signed by 25 state lawmakers, including state Democrat Representative Abraham Aiyash, who is the majority leader of Michigan state’s House chamber.

“Today, I joined 25 other Michigan House and Senate colleagues pressing President Biden for a lasting ceasefire,” Aiyash wrote in a post to X, a social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “Bombing children will not bring peace. An end to violence is the only way to legitimately address the occupation and bring lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis alike,” Aiyash added. “We must advance and lasting and durable ceasefire to end the bombing and devastation in Gaza.”

With the transfer of hostages during the ceasefire, Palestinian prisoners will also be released from Israeli jail, per Hamas’s demands, The Hill reported. An Israeli source has stated that the four-day lull in fighting, would be on hold and that Israeli military operations in Gaza would continue as long as the agreement is not finalized.

The delay is a blow to families who are desperate to see their abducted children, spouses, daughters, and sisters return after close to 50 days as Hamas hostages. (ANI)

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