U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has joined the chorus of Democrats calling for Israel to “pause” its military action against Hamas and conduct “a short-term cessation of hostilities” so more aid can be delivered to Gaza.
It is a call to action that supporters of Israel say would benefit the terrorists and hinder Israel’s efforts to eliminate Hamas as a future threat.
“Hamas unleashed a brutal and barbarous attack that killed 1,400 Israelis on October 7,” Shaheen told WMUR this weekend. Israel’s military action “is a response to what Hamas has done. And very sadly, the Palestinians who occupy Gaza are being used as pawns in this war.
“We need to see a pause in the fighting so we can let people out, so that we can let humanitarian aid in, and so we can help those Palestinians who are caught in the middle,” Shaheen said.”
After weeks of unwavering support for Israel’s military response to the most deadly day for Jews since the Holocaust, President Joe Biden said Wednesday he supports a pause as well.
“I think we need a pause. A pause means to give time to get the prisoners out,” Biden said.
Shaheen joined a dozen Senate Democrats, including far-left Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, in a statement declaring that while “Israel has the right and obligation to defend itself against Hamas,” it also “has the obligation, pursuant to international law, to conduct that defense in such a way as to minimize harm to civilians and allow humanitarian aid to reach those who are suffering.
“We join President Biden in his call for a short-term cessation of hostilities that pose high-risk to civilians, aid workers or humanitarian aid delivery in Gaza,” Shaheen and her fellow Democrats wrote.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already dismissed the calls.
“There will be no ceasefire without the return of the hostages. This should be completely removed from the lexicon,” Netanyahu said Friday. More than 200 people are being held hostage after being taken during the Oct. 7 attack. More than 30 are Americans, according to reports.
Former Ambassador and U.S. Sen. Scott Brown said Shaheen’s call for a pause is wrong-headed.
“When Hamas gets out of the hospitals, schools, and residential centers, and it stops using those sites and civilians as human shields — and it returns the hostages — then there can be a pause,” Brown said. “Hamas will use the pause the regroup. Absolutely not.”
Military experts who support Israel in the war have said any pause would benefit Hamas, whatever the other impacts it might have on the civilian population. And the IDF has actually rescued more hostages via its military efforts than Hamas has released voluntarily.
Several families of hostages say they believe military pressure is the best way to secure the release of their loved ones.
“I think that with time, the pressure of our army is what will get the hostages freed,” Ella ben Ami, whose parents were kidnapped by Hamas, told Politico. “We can’t talk with Hamas like I’m talking with you. They only talk violence.”
Brown said Shaheen’s pressure on Israel is applying a double standard America would never impose on itself.
“If the situation was reversed, the United States would not pause. We would fulfill the mission, get the hostages back, and eliminate the terrorists. I am opposed to any pause.”
Also, in her comments on WMUR, Shaheen said the pause was needed so “we can let people out, so that we can let humanitarian aid in, and so we can help those Palestinians who are caught in the middle.”
Who is “we?” Was Shaheen saying that the U.S. controls who goes in and out of Gaza and that it controls the flow of materials into Hamas-controlled territory?
NHJournal asked Shaheen and her staff for clarification. They declined to respond.