Tester Leads Bipartisan Letter Urging White House to Prioritize Safe Release of American Hostages

Senators: “We urge you to do everything in your power to secure their safe release”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today led a bipartisan letter to President Biden calling on the Administration to do everything in its power to secure the safe release of American hostages kidnapped by Hamas. 

“We are heartbroken that Hamas has kidnapped over 150 civilians, including American citizens, during its brutal terrorist attacks in Israel on October 7, 2023,” wrote Tester and the bipartisan group of Senators. “We appreciate that you have sent the U.S. Deputy Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs to Israel to assist in the recovery of the hostages, and we urge you to do everything in your power to secure their safe release.”

The Senators’ letter continued: “Hamas has already killed 30 Americans, and likely injured many more. We agree with your labeling of Hamas’s immoral attacks as an ‘act of sheer evil,’ and a ‘violation of every code of human morality.’ The terrorists responsible for these atrocities hide behind human shields while they threaten to livestream the execution of hostages. Hamas has also reportedly demanded the mass release of prisoners in exchange for freeing its hostages and could use the hostages to push for a ceasefire. With several U.S. citizens still missing in the aftermath of the terror group’s brutal attack, we urge you to continue putting your full attention on the freeing of American hostages. Every day must be treated with a sense of urgency.”

The Senators concluded their letter by calling on the Biden Administration to continue to support Israel’s efforts to defeat Hamas and to work with allies and partners in the region to help secure the safe release of all hostages: “We urge the United States to continue supporting Israel’s urgent efforts to dismantle the threat of Hamas, provide the necessary resources for Israel’s defense, and continue offering whatever support necessary to immediately and safely rescue kidnapped Americans, with particular attention to those who require urgent medical care. Lastly, many families are painfully waiting for any update on the health of their loved ones who have been taken hostage. We urge you to encourage our allies and partners in the region to place pressure on Hamas to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to have access to the hostages while the United States and Israel work to secure their release. We appreciate your attention on this extraordinarily important matter.”

Immediately after Hamas launched terrorist attacks against Israel, Tester issued a statement strongly condemning the attacks and supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.

Last week, Tester became one of the first U.S. Senators to call on the Biden Administration to immediately freeze the $6 billion in Iranian assets and explore other financial tools at our disposal. Tester then sent a bipartisan letter calling on the Biden Administration to make it the official policy of the United States to freeze the $6 billion in Iranian assets.