In response to the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip and Israel, Rep. Samba Baldeh (D-Madison) released the following statement:
“No one can deny that the Hamas attacks on October 7th were horrifying. For an armed group to attack, capture, and kill unarmed civilians is deplorable and has rightly been condemned by observers around the world. Those more than 1400 victims, and especially the dozens of children killed, had lives full of promise; they had families, and they had humanity, and every one of them deserves to be recognized and mourned. In that spirit, I voted in favor of the Assembly Resolution (AJR 82) condemning the violent attack by Hamas.
Since those initial attacks, Israel has engaged in an all-out war against Hamas that has ravaged the already-besieged Gaza Strip, killing over 8000 Palestinians, including more than 3000 children. They, too, have been taken from this world all too soon, leaving behind dreams, devastated families, and the hope of a brighter tomorrow.
Let me be unequivocal: this violence must end.
The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas on Earth, with nearly 2.4 million people living in a territory that measures only 141 square miles. For reference, that is roughly nine times the population of Madison in an area just under twice as large as our city. Fully 50% of the population of the Gaza Strip is under 18 years old.
If bombs continue to fall, and if the Israeli military moves forward with their plans to further expand the ground offensive in Gaza, thousands more innocent civilians – including thousands of children – will inevitably be killed. As decades of experience have shown, violence has not solved this problem, and continued violence will do nothing more than lead to continued unnecessary bloodshed.
For the sake of humanity, both sides must lay down arms. Hamas must release all hostages and cease attacks on Israel. Israel must end the bombing campaign, withdraw the military from Gaza, and allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. And most crucially, both sides and international partners must find a way to broker real, substantive peace talks. For the sake of the future, this war must end.”