PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Sen. Mark Warner, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, expressed hope this week that a deal may be struck soon to free a number of hostages from Hamas captivity, and to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.
The ongoing conflict during the Israel-Hamas war has led to the deaths of thousands of innocent people — first on Israeli territory on Oct. 7, then in the aerial strikes of Gaza since. The situation has also sparked political tensions within the U.S. as well as globally.
“I can’t talk about this beyond what’s in the public domain,” Warner said, in a call with reporters on Nov. 16. “I am enormously hopeful that the New York Times reporting becomes true — that says there is close to being whatever we want to call it: a pause — but potentially a pause for days that would also allow the beginning of some of the hostage exchange.”
The Times reported the previous day that a potential deal between the Israeli and Hamas leadership was being brokered by the Qataris. According to that reporting, the terms would include the release of 50 hostages — women and children — from Hamas captivity as well as the release of a similar number of Palestinians who are being held in Israel.
Warner stressed the importance of getting humanitarian aid into Gaza, which has seen shortages of fuel, electricity, food, clean water and medical supplies. He cautioned against a long-term ceasefire, however, because it might leave Hamas in place there.
He also said the Israeli government needs to reign in settler violence in the West Bank, an area he called “a boiling pot.” At least seven Palestinians have been killed in attacks there since Oct. 7.
“Restricting the settlers from violence, getting aid into both of those regions, is not only the humanitarian thing to do, it’s also I think the best long-term interest for Israel,” he said.
Warner has been one of a number of Senate Democrats who have been calling for a humanitarian ceasefire for several weeks.
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