Lawmakers reject de-escalation, urge strong action against Iran, Qatar, Turkey

More than 110 Democratic and GOP members of Congress joined a letter calling for U.S. moves to cut off sources of support for Hamas and crack down on Iran

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) leaves a classified, closed-door briefing about Hamas' attack on Israel in the Capitol Visitors Center Auditorium on October 11, 2023 in Washington, D.C.

A bipartisan group of 113 lawmakers wrote to President Joe Biden rejecting calls for de-escalation and urging him to take strong action against Iran, Qatar and Turkey for their support for Hamas, in the wake of the terrorist group’s brutal attack on Israel.

The letter, led by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Don Bacon (R-NE), Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) and Claudia Tenney (R-NY), has 63 Democratic and 50 Republican signatories total. It was sent to Biden yesterday and obtained by Jewish Insider.

The letter explicitly repudiates calls for de-escalation, which have begun to emerge in some progressive circles, and argues that the U.S. must “stand ready to provide Israel with the resources she needs to defend herself” and “stand by her” until every hostage is freed and Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad “and others complicit” in the attack are “decisively defeated.”

“Premature de-escalation would be a victory for the terrorists, and allow them to continue to threaten Israeli civilians with future attacks,” the letter reads.

It goes on to urge the administration to “take all necessary steps to cut off Iranian funding sources,” including “maximum enforcement of all U.S. sanctions” and “any and all steps” to cut off the Iran-China oil trade. It also calls on Biden to work with European allies to snap back missile and drone sanctions on Iran at the U.N., which are set to expire on Wednesday.

The letter further calls on the administration to “put significant pressure on Qatar and Türkiye,” two U.S. military partners, to cut off their support for Hamas and expel leadership.

It laments that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh “sits comfortably in Qatar” and states that “the country’s links to Hamas and recent statement blaming Israel for the ongoing war are simply unacceptable.” It calls on Qatar and Turkey, which also provides support to Hamas, to “cease all ties with Hamas, and continue to work with the United States to stabilize the region.”

The lawmakers also reiterated their support for providing additional aid to Israel.

“Israel has no greater ally than the United States. We thank you for your ongoing efforts to bring critical help to Israel as it endures one of the deadliest periods in its history,” the letter reads. “The devastation, destruction, and war waged against Israel is an affront to our ironclad, bipartisan relationship with the Jewish State, our closest ally in the Middle East.”

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