Rep. Dean calls for bilateral ceasefire after visiting Middle East, accuses Netanyahu of ‘dishonesty’

Coming off of a recent trip to Israel and Palestinian territories, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, a Glenside native, Abington High School graduate, and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a press release calling for a bilateral ceasefire in Gaza and Israel.

In the statement, she accuses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “dishonesty” and “broken promises,”

“It was impressed upon everybody that we must get to cessation of the fighting,” Dean said in an interview. “Unfortunately the Netanyahu administration denies problems going on with settler violence. We are calling that out. It is a serious problem and it is a tinder box. And Palestinians are dying.”

Last week, Netanyahu presented his first official “day after” plan for the Gaza Strip once the war ends.

Earlier this month, Dean released a statement about her vote against H.R.7217: Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024.

Dean’s press release:

Less than a week ago, I returned from my second trip to the Israeli and Palestinian territories since the October 7th brutal attacks. The visits allowed me to speak with Israeli leaders in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and Palestinian leaders in Ramallah. 

What I saw confirmed my concerns and fears. Israel has the right and responsibility to defend itself, its sovereignty, and its citizens — but what is happening is beyond self-defense and is unacceptable to me.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s dishonesty — his broken promises to use precision strikes to protect civilians and his false claims that safe zones have been created and enforced — is unacceptable.

My heart breaks for Gazans, the suffering of innocent civilians — so many of them children — the devastation and loss of life is unacceptable.

Since the start of Israel’s mission to root out Hamas, in the wake of the brutal murders and kidnappings on Oct. 7th, the United States has given Mr. Netanyahu time and discretion, in the hopes that Israel could do that which would benefit us all — rid Gaza of a cruel terrorist organization and bring hostages home.

Instead, Mr. Netanyahu has used that time, that discretion, to wage a war against civilians — and no war against civilians is just.

On my trip to Israel in November, I spoke with the Prime Minister — and urged him to micro-target, dislodge Hamas, end civilian slaughtering, and bring all hostages home.

And when I called for a long term pause at the end of October, I did so out of concern for both Israeli hostages and Palestinian civilians. I advocated for a pause to ensure that hostages could be returned home and access to food, water, shelter, medical supplies, and other necessities could be restored in Gaza.

At that time, I had hoped that Israel would root out terrorism and rescue the hostages. Now, I have serious doubts about how Prime Minister Netanayhu and his government are executing this war and carrying out this rescue mission.

It has been months, and diplomacy — in the form of brief pauses — has been the only effective tool through which aid has flowed into Gaza and hostages have been released. And since the end of that pause, we have only seen more devastation and a disproportionately low level of success in finding Hamas operatives.

This war has killed more than 29,000 Palestinians – in Gaza, and in the West Bank, where settler violence has sharply risen since October 7th. 

Whether in the Gaza Strip or in the West Bank, this war has devastated an already hurting population, and appears to have no end in sight.

For those reasons, I am calling for a bilateral ceasefire with the release of all remaining hostages.

Words matter. During this conflict, I have been careful and deliberate with my words. But four months into the war – into the suffering – we must all rally behind an end to the violence and heartbreak.

And whether you feel more comfortable with calling it a “humanitarian pause,” “humanitarian ceasefire,” “negotiated stop,” or “ceasefire,” the truth remains – it’s time to turn to diplomacy: end the war, return the hostages, and arrive at a long overdue station of permanent peace.

The international community – including Gulf nations – has signaled urgency in ending this war.

Ceasefires have come and gone in this conflict. We must do everything in our power, as a global community, to ensure that this ceasefire finally ends this long-term conflict.

The US and the international community must find a permanent, safe, and dignified pathway to a two-state solution for the future of Palestinian and Israeli civilians alike.

Because Israel must never cease to exist — the Jewish people have a right to live, thrive, and be secure in their cultural, ethnic, and religious practices.

And so too, there must be self-determination for Palestinians – liberty, dignity, and joy – in a state of their own. Long overdue is a continuous, democratic, and autonomous Palestinian State – in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

For any of this to be possible, we must have a common understanding that what we’ve tried in the past – is simply not working.

And so now, with the U.S. leading — arm-in-arm with the international community — permanent peace, security, and sovereignty for two nations must be realized.

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