The Hawaii senator, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, supports Israel’s right to defend itself, but says the suffering in Gaza right now is “untenable.”

Hawaii U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz issued a statement Thursday calling for a “humanitarian pause” in the Israel-Hamas war, echoing the position of President Joe Biden as calls mount in the international community for a cease-fire.

Schatz is a Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and is Jewish.

While he supports Israel’s right to defend itself after an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas that killed more than 1,400 people, he has warned that the country must be careful not to respond in a way that further destabilizes the region.

Already more than 9,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, many of them reported to be women and children. Meanwhile, much of the aid to Gaza has been choked off during the conflict.

“The suffering in Gaza is worsening by the day, and a mutually agreed-upon humanitarian pause is the only way to deliver adequate aid to those in need, create space for negotiations for the release of hostages, and chart a path forward that protects civilians,” Schatz said.

“Continued violence will no doubt compound this already dire situation. Israel has the right to defend its citizens from an ongoing terrorist threat, and a humanitarian pause does not undermine that right. While a temporary halt does not solve the fundamental, long-term security and humanitarian issues facing the region, the scale of human suffering right now is untenable. To achieve a just and lasting peace, we must redouble our efforts to get back on track to reach a two-state solution.”

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