WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement in response to escalating violence in Israel.

“The barrage of rockets over the past few days directed at Israeli civilians is abhorrent and I unequivocally condemn this deadly assault from Hamas. Hamas has once again taken advantage of heightened tensions between Palestinians and Israelis for its own destructive purposes, not for the benefit of Palestinians. I support the Biden Administration’s efforts to engage regional partners, including Israel, Egypt, and the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East, to reach a ceasefire immediately and ensure that that all steps are taken to minimize civilian casualties in Israel and Gaza.

“It has been far too long since Palestinian and Israeli leaders have shown the leadership required to come to the table and talk to one another, and we are seeing the result of maintaining the status quo. Planned evictions in East Jerusalem not only uproot the lives of Palestinians who have lived there for decades but also inflame tensions and undermine the prospects for a two-state solution. It is vital that the U.S. urge leaders of all faiths and partners in the region take steps to deescalate the growing violence in Jerusalem and areas throughout Israel.

“Moving forward, the U.S. must play a more productive role in bringing the Palestinians to the table, preventing unilateral actions that undermine a future two-state solution, and facilitating peaceful dialogue between the two parties.”