U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on the escalating conflict in Gaza.
“The escalating conflict between Hamas and Israel is deeply tragic and inflicts serious damage on the people in Israel and Gaza. Based on a cynical political calculation, Hamas, which is a terrorist organization, appears to be intentionally disrupting any chance for progress on peace discussions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Hamas’s decision to escalate rocket attacks on Israel was designed to provoke an Israeli defensive response that would necessarily endanger Gaza residents. I fully support Israel’s right to defend itself against these indiscriminate rocket attacks, but they also should do everything necessary to minimize harm to civilians and facilitate humanitarian access.
“The entire global community must pressure Hamas to cease rocket attacks. Once that occurs, a cease fire agreement between Israel and Hamas should be enforced. I appreciate the efforts of egypt and other nations to promote a cease fire in Gaza and pray that such efforts succeed.
“The Palestinian Authority and President Mahmoud Abbas should break off attempts to form a unity government with Hamas and return to the negotiating table to discuss a peace deal between Palestinians in the West Bank and Israel. Those discussions were making progress as recently as March before actions on both sides scuttled the negotiations. The events of recent days demonstrate that the path toward peace will be incredibly hard. But those same events also demonstrate even more clearly the tragic consequences of failed leadership–destruction, rocket attacks, dead children and grieving parents.”