Six months ago, Hamas brutally attacked Israel, murdering 1,200 women, men, children, and babies, many suffering the most heinous atrocities, and taking 254 people hostage. Israel’s war of self-defense continues for two clear reasons: 134 hostages remain in captivity in Gaza, and Israel has yet to fully eliminate the threats posed by Hamas’ military capabilities.

As is the case with all wars, this war – which Israel did not seek – has terrible costs, both for Israelis and Palestinians. American Jewish Committee (AJC), like Israel, mourns the loss of innocent Palestinian life in Gaza. Forced to operate in one of the most complex urban warfare environments in history, Israel has worked extensively to prevent the loss of civilian life and ensure that humanitarian aid reaches Gazans continuously and as efficiently as possible. Hamas, meanwhile, equally disregards the lives of Israelis and Palestinian civilians. The world must not forget that this war could end today if Hamas were to release the hostages and lay down its arms.

The United States and Israel’s other key allies must not lose sight of this broader picture. While there may be differences of opinion on strategy and tactics, all nations with shared values – especially the United States, which has repeatedly asserted the necessity of freeing all hostages and defeating Hamas – should and must remain by Israel’s side. Just this week, the U.S. authorized the transfer of thousands of munitions to Israel and is pressing ahead with the sale of additional advanced fighter jets. We are grateful for this vital support. At the same time, AJC firmly rejects direct or implicit threats from the White House or Congress to add conditions on security assistance to Israel.

On the hostages: America’s top priority must remain the return of all 134 remaining hostages, including six U.S. citizens. We urge U.S. officials and Members of Congress, every time they speak about the situation in Gaza, to continue to demand the release of the hostages and support the need to defeat Hamas. Pressure must be intensified on Hamas to stop walking away from hostage-release and ceasefire negotiations. At every turn, the United States must be clear that its policy continues to be that there can be no ceasefire agreement without the release of all the hostages, as these two issues must remain inextricably linked. 

On humanitarian aid: Slanderous accusations against Israel of forced starvation and prevention of aid from entering Gaza do not reflect the facts on the ground. Israel continues to prioritize the protection of civilians, the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and the protection of aid workers. Data from Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which oversees its aid program, clearly demonstrates the magnitude of Israeli efforts to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the Gaza Strip. An average of more than 200 trucks a day with hundreds of thousands of pounds of supplies continue to enter Gaza every day. AJC leadership recently returned from Israel and saw firsthand the extent of these efforts.

A key challenge continues to be the distribution of aid within Gaza. The United Nations and other international aid organizations are working to distribute aid, but the UN, in particular, must increase its capacity to ensure that the aid is distributed once it arrives in Gaza. Despite these challenges, COGAT continues to work with all parties to increase aid – including the announcement today of the opening of two additional pathways for aid to enter Gaza, through the Port of Ashdod and the Erez Crossing.

In addition, Israeli leaders expressed deep sorrow about the tragic deaths of seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen (WCK) earlier this week. AJC shares their grief, and their admiration for the humanitarian contributions of WCK. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) acted swiftly to investigate, has already held those responsible accountable – including the dismissal of two top officers, and instituted new measures to increase the protection of humanitarian workers. Such tragedies are horrific whenever they occur in war, but should not be used to demonize Israel by suggesting that the IDF intentionally targeted and killed aid workers. 

On Iran: AJC is grateful for the U.S. administration’s continued assistance and words of strong support for Israel as it faces Iranian threats. The world must not forget that Israel’s war of self-defense against Hamas in Gaza is a war against an Iranian proxy. Another Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, threatens Israel in the North. Whether in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, or Iran itself, the threats to Israel by Iran and its terror proxies are also threats to regional peace and stability and to the national security of the United States.

AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 offices across the United States, 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world. For more, please visit