WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, on Thursday released the following statement:

“As I have said consistently, Israel has a right and an obligation to defend its people from terror attacks like the horrific events of October 7.  The Hamas terrorists who planned and executed those attacks must be held accountable, and the ability of Hamas to carry out similar attacks in the future must be eliminated.

“It's time for Israel's friends to recognize that the current operational approach is causing an unacceptable level of civilian harm and does not appear likely to achieve the goal of permanently ending the threat from Hamas. As we have learned from America’s own counterterrorism campaigns, disproportionately large numbers of civilian casualties come with a moral cost, but also a strategic cost, as terrorist groups feed off of the grievances caused by civilian harm.

“I share Israel's desire to destroy the threat from Hamas. And I know Israel cares about the impact of this war on innocent Palestinians, even as they track Hamas’s hideouts inside and below mosques, apartment buildings, and schools. But the way in which the current campaign is being waged – most recently evidenced by the terribly high human cost of the strikes on the Jabalya refugee camp – suggests that they have not struck the right balance between military necessity and proportionality.

“The current rate of civilian death inside Gaza is unacceptable and unsustainable. I urge Israel to immediately reconsider its approach and shift to a more deliberate and proportionate counterterrorism campaign, surgically targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders and terrorist infrastructure while more highly prioritizing the safety of civilians in accordance with the law of armed conflict. This does not mean that Israel should stop fighting Hamas, but it must take concrete steps to end the current widespread harm to innocent people and children inside Gaza.”

Last month, Murphy spoke on the U.S. Senate floor on the importance of supporting Israel in its time of need and avoiding the mistakes the United States has made in our counterterrorism campaigns.