Today, Congressman Greg Stanton released the following statement on the escalating violence in Israel and Gaza:

"It is time for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, and I hope President Biden will actively work toward that goal.  

This latest round of cyclical violence escalated when Hamas’s terrorist regime in Gaza launched rocket attacks with the intent to kill Israeli citizens.  

Hamas’s indiscriminate attacks have not only killed Jewish and Arab Israelis but even Palestinians they rule over as one-fifth of their rockets fall directly into Gaza.  

If the United States were attacked by terrorists, we would defend ourselves and Israel has the same right to do so – period.  To suggest otherwise holds Israel to a different standard than is expected of any other nation.  

Several of Hamas’s top commanders have been neutralized, and its ability to carry out significant attacks in the near future has been diminished. That is a positive step. 

It is a terrible tragedy, though, that so many Palestinian civilians have lost their lives during this conflict. Hamas has a long and well-documented history of cruelly using innocent Palestinians as shields and hiding weapons stockpiles in schools, hospitals and neighborhoods.  

The conflict in the Middle East, which has caused so much pain for Palestinians and Israelis alike, must be solved – and it must become a higher priority for the international community, including the United States.  

But peace cannot happen as long as Hamas calls for another genocide of the Jewish people, refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and remains in power. Gaza – and all Palestinians – must be freed from Hamas.  

Peace cannot happen as long as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, now 16 years into his “four-year term,” cancels election after election to hold onto power and lacks the legitimacy to negotiate an enduring peace. 

And Israel’s leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu so long as he remains in power, must hold far-right Israeli extremists accountable, actively work to calm tensions within the region, and seek a stronger future for Palestinians.  

The road to peace remains a long one, but we can take the first step today by working toward an immediate cease-fire and rededicating ourselves to a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike."