With the conflict between Israel and Hamas intensifying, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Sunday encouraged the Biden administration to "push harder" for a ceasefire.
Since the fighting began last Monday, more than 180 Palestinians have died in Gaza, including 52 children, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. At least eight Israelis have died, including two children. Israel has been conducting airstrikes against Hamas, and in return, Hamas has been firing rockets into Israel. On Saturday, Israeli airstrikes leveled several buildings in Gaza, including one that housed offices for The Associated Press and Al Jazeera.
"We can't have the targeting of buildings with press organizations," Schiff said during an interview on Face the Nation. "We can't continue to see this loss of civilian life. It's got to come to an end. While I fully defend Israel's right to defend itself, it needs to do what it needs to do to protect its people, I don't want that to be interpreted as support for Israeli settlement policy or the eviction of Palestinians from their homes." Palestinians, Schiff added, have "a right to live in peace and freedom, to a state of their own, living side by side in peace with Israel."
Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, called the loss of life "deplorable," adding that the "death toll increases and violence has got to stop." He wants the United States to "do everything possible to bring about a ceasefire. I think the administration needs to push harder on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to stop the violence, bring about a ceasefire, end these hostilities, and get back to a process of trying to resolve this long-standing conflict."
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hady Amr is now in the region to talk with both sides, and on Saturday, the White House said President Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, letting them know he wants the violence to end.