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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Importance Of Robust Bipartisan Aid For Israel And Support For Innocent Civilians, And Confirming Critical Nominations To Represent The U.S. In The Middle East

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the attack on the hospital in Gaza, the Senate’s bipartisan work to support Israel and innocent civilians, the upcoming classified all-Senators briefing, and the need for critical nominations to be filled in the Middle East. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

The slaughter of over 1,300 people in Israel on October 7th reminds every Jewish person in the world of darker, more sinister times. It lay bare, sadly, that the ancient poison of hatred against Jews still persists.

We must be clear that Hamas does not speak for the Palestinian people. Hamas is a terrorist organization, dedicated to Israel’s eradication. Hamas must be defeated.

And the violence of Hamas terrorists has tragically put innocent Palestinians in harm’s way.

I was deeply saddened and shocked by the awful news of the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza. The loss of innocent life is a sickening tragedy, and my prayers are with the victims, the families, the children, and all innocent people who were injured or killed.

Now, while we await the results of a full review to be completed, as the President indicated – and as this morning, people should look at this, released signal intelligence confirms – it appears that terrorist fighters within Gaza were responsible for the explosion and deaths, not the Israeli IDF. It is clear that terrorists in Gaza have no regard for civilian, human life.

As I have said – and as the Biden Administration has made clear – civilian life must be protected. And we must help civilians impacted by the war, Palestinian civilians who have nothing to do with Hamas. As the Senate considers a supplemental package to help Israel fight Hamas, we will include robust humanitarian aid to help civilians and make sure that the aid goes to those who need it urgently, and not fall into the wrong hands, such as Hamas’.

When I joined my Senate colleagues in meeting with the Israeli government, we promised to do whatever we could to help Israel defend herself.

In the coming days, President Biden will send Congress a supplemental request that will provide Israel the resources they need to defend themselves and eliminate the threat of Hamas.

The Senate will move this package as soon as we can, without delay, with strong bipartisan support. Democrats want to act, and I know a lot of Republicans want to act, and I was very encouraged to hear my friend, the Republican Leader, Leader McConnell, express his support too.

At this moment of crisis in Israel, and of chaos in the House of Representatives, the Senate must step into the breach and stand firmly together to get emergency military and humanitarian aid to Israel.

In this difficult moment, the Senate must act as a steady, bipartisan force. We must show that the work of the first branch of government is continuing.

We will not wait for the House. We cannot, because the need for this package is too urgent to sit and wait for them to get themselves out of their own morass. I hope the Senate passing a strong bipartisan package will importune the House to follow suit in whichever way they see fit.

Passing this supplemental and providing Israel the tools they need will show Israel and the world that the United States stands with our ally, now and always.

And I expect very soon, as early as today, maybe tomorrow morning, the Senate will act to pass a resolution from Senator Cardin, Ranking Member Risch, Leader McConnell, and myself, affirming that the Senate stands firmly with Israel and firmly against Hamas.

Our resolution has overwhelming – nearly unanimous – bipartisan support in the Senate. It is cosponsored by 99 Senators, Senator Paul being the outstanding one who hasn’t.

Passing a supplemental, and passing this resolution, will affirm an unchanging truth: so long as there is a United States of America, so long as there is a United States Senate, the people of Israel will not, will not be alone.

Later this afternoon, we’ll have an all-Senators classified briefing on Israel and Gaza. We’ll be briefed by the top people in the administration, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General C.Q. Brown, and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

I encourage all my colleagues on both sides to attend today’s briefing from our top leaders, so we can stay fully updated on the latest information on the ground regarding Israel’s security and their efforts to defeat the evil, terrorist, horrible organization named Hamas.

With all the conflagration in the Middle East, it is really important that we have ambassadors in critical places.  It's always important, but a lot of them have been blocked. But now, with the conflagration in the Middle East, it's more important than ever that they be there. When we were in Israel, the lack of an ambassador was apparent. Now, there is a great chargé d'affaires person, she did a great job, but we still need an ambassador.

For that reason, I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for working quickly this week on getting critical nominees through the Senate.

Last night, we confirmed Ana Escrogima to serve as Ambassador to Oman, and earlier this week we confirmed Karen Sasahara as Ambassador to Kuwait.

We have more nominees who we need to pass to fill ambassadorships in the Middle East, more important than ever. We must do more. It’s important that the Senate shows bipartisan unity right now to get these critical diplomats confirmed, and I hope we keep doing so, like we did with these two ambassadors, in the days ahead.