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Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate David Costello Issues Statement on Gaza


May 2, 2024     

Brunswick, ME – Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate David Costello issued a statement today in
support of efforts to press the Netanyahu government to comply more fully with the Biden
Administration’s humanitarian aid, cease-fire, and political settlement requests.
Costello stated that “Hamas’s horrific assault on October 7 was wholly unjustified and Israel had
every right, and indeed an obligation, to respond forcefully. No terrorist action, nor attacks
from allied parties, like Hezbollah and Iran, should ever go unanswered.
However, from the beginning, Israel’s military response in Gaza has been excessive and much of
it indefensible. Instead of strategically and precisely focusing on the return of hostages and the
eradication of Hamas as a military and political entity, Israel’s disproportionate actions have
resulted in the wholesale and counterproductive destruction of much of Gaza and the deaths
and deprivation of untold thousands of innocent Palestinians.
President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and many others are correct to
question the motives and detrimental decisions of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and his right-wing allies. Decisions that have not contributed effectively to the release of Israeli
and American hostages and have resulted in growing animosity toward Israelis and in making
Israel less secure.
Criticizing Israel’s recent actions and leadership does not excuse the decades of
counterproductive, undemocratic, and often deplorable actions of Palestinian and neighboring
Arab leaders but is meant to reinforce the contention that the most constructive if not the only
sensible way forward is to establish a durable cease-fire and peace settlement based on a
credible two-state, Israel-Palestine solution. 
To that end, I urge Senators King and Collins to support ongoing efforts to convince the Biden
Administration – which has increasingly urged Israel to protect civilians and aid in the provision
of critical humanitarian assistance – to pause the transfer of offensive weapons to Israel until
the Netanyahu government complies more fully with the Administration’s humanitarian aid,
cease-fire, and political settlement requests. 
Having worked overseas in conflict-torn, authoritarian-ruled countries, I’ve witnessed first-hand
the horrors of war and dictatorial rule, and I understand that armed conflict is sometimes
necessary to end the harm caused by malevolent actors like Hamas, Al Qaida, ISIS, Balkan
nationalists, and Vladimir Putin. Yet, I also appreciate that in almost all instances of armed
conflict, innocents are harmed and given this, and the accompanying risk of stoking further
extremism and violence, nations must always err on the side of protecting innocent non-

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