Thousands of constituents have weighed in on the war between Israel and Hamas, and we absolutely listen and absorb the feedback.
Everyone gets a letter, which we wanted to share.
Folks write in or call in to push for peace, support for Israel, support for Palestinians, getting the hostages home, especially the children, a ceasefire, pauses to the conflict, and humanitarian assistance.
We try and respond to the specific feedback, but everyone gets a version of the following:
Thanks for reaching out, and please continue to do so. We’re here to listen and serve you.
As I return to this conflict, which has been on my mind nearly every minute of every day, I start with the two images from this war that will be forever etched in my conscience: the bloodstained walls above a toddler’s bed in Israel, and a terrified toddler stuck in the rubble in Gaza.
For those of us who care deeply about others, and both Israelis and Palestinians, the loss of life is staggering and awful.
War is awful, and this one is no different.
In my conversations and meetings with both Jewish and Muslim friends and constituents, there are disagreements, of course, but there is also a shared pain and fear. Holding onto our shared humanity and experiences in moments like these is so important.
The pain and trauma from the loss of life is real, disorienting, and for some, even debilitating at times. We are scared not just for those in Israel and in Gaza, but for our own safety with the staggering rise of antisemitism, Islamophobia, and violence against Jews and Muslims.
It’s very important for us to find shared space at a time like this, where we lean into our common humanity and let ourselves feel one another’s pain – and to ensure that we see one another and hear one another.
Many of my Jewish and Muslim friends have told me the same thing: we don’t feel seen, and we don’t feel heard.
I want you to know that with us, you are being heard. Please continue to reach out.
There is one more thing that Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Muslims, have in common: we should all want the end of Hamas in Gaza.
Israel left Gaza in 2005. Palestinians in Gaza achieved self-determination, and there was hope. I remember it as if it was yesterday. Then Hamas took over within a year or two, and they have undermined and oppressed Gazans ever since.
Their constant attacks on innocent civilians have made the prospect of peace infinitely more difficult.
Then Hamas invaded Israel on October 7th. In a matter of hours, more Jews were killed in a single day than on any day since the Holocaust.
The fact is, the atrocities committed against innocent Israelis by Hamas on October 7th are still hard to fathom: slaughtering entire families, raping women, murdering infants and toddlers, and taking hundreds of people hostage. It will forever change the world.
Hamas’ governing charter is focused on the annihilation of Israel and Jews. Hamas leaders have said they will plan as many October 7th attacks as they need to in order to achieve this mission.
I believe strongly in Israel’s right and responsibility to defend itself, and the need for an unconditional surrender of Hamas for a new, truly hopeful future for both Israelis and Palestinians.
I also believe that the impact of the loss of innocent lives in Gaza cannot be minimized. Israel must be as targeted as possible, follow international law, and support the necessary humanitarian efforts underway.
And we must get the hostages home. I’m continuing to meet with ambassadors of countries in the region and will continue to engage, daily, to help get every single hostage back to their family.
My hope is that regional partners can also help to rally international support for the kind of credible and legitimate governing authority that Palestinians will need once Hamas is gone. This is what has been missing and will be a life-changing development for Gazans.
As for a ceasefire, I do believe the humanitarian pauses make sense. Providing humanitarian assistance and refuge must be a top priority.
I very much believe that our collective energy should go towards putting pressure on Hamas to surrender.
This will end when Hamas is no longer in charge in Gaza, and no longer a threat to Israel or Palestinians, in Gaza or in the West Bank.
Please also know that we will continue to put pressure on Egypt to be a full partner in the effort to provide refuge and humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, and others in the region will be key.
As someone who has spent a lot of time in Israel, the Gaza Envelope, and the West Bank, and a determined supporter of Israel, a two-state solution, and the liberation of Palestinians from terror and corruption, I am fully committed to being as helpful, pragmatic, and caring as this moment requires of us.
I’ve long believed that the pathway to peace is to liberate Gaza and the West Bank from corruption and terrorism. Israel must defend itself, as any nation would, and the global community must help Israel and the Palestinians rid the region of Hamas terror.
The world has come together before to stand up to tyranny and terror, and we will again.
It doesn’t always feel like it, but we are all in this together. Appreciate you.