February 06, 2024

Duckworth Presses Qatari Ambassador on Importance of Securing the Safe Release of Hamas-held Hostages


[WASHINGTON, DC] – Today, U.S. Senator and member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) hosted Qatari Ambassador to the United States Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani for a meeting in her Capitol Hill office, where she raised the importance of reaching a deal to secure the safe return of the more than 100 hostages still being held by Hamas, including Israeli-American Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who has not been heard from since he was taken hostage after losing his arm during the October 7, 2023, terrorist attacks in Israel. In her meeting with the Ambassador, Duckworth also underscored the importance of aid workers being allowed into and kept safe in Gaza, as well as ensuring medicine is actually reaching the hostages still being held in Gaza. Photos of today’s meeting are available at this link.

“I appreciated today’s opportunity to discuss with the Ambassador Qatar’s continued efforts to push Hamas to release its remaining hostages, including Hersh Goldberg-Polin, as well as the need to expand deliveries of humanitarian aid to innocent civilians who are suffering in Gaza,” said Duckworth. “As I have since this terrible war began, I will continue doing whatever I can to advocate for the safe return of all hostages, the protection of innocent civilians in Gaza and the West Bank and ultimately a two-state future that strengthens the safety of Israel, eliminates the threat posed by Hamas and ends the prolonged and continuing suffering of Palestinians.”

Hersh Goldberg-Polin, who lived in Chicago and has family still living in Illinois, was celebrating his 22nd birthday at the Nova Music Festival in Israel when Hamas began its terrorist attacks on October 7. Eyewitnesses report that he lost his left arm, then was forced into a pick-up truck by terrorists.

Since hostilities broke out last year, Duckworth also worked to secure the release of Illinoisans Judith and Natalie Raanan who were taken hostage by Hamas and has continued underscoring the need for all parties to remain laser-focused on the safe return of all hostages being held by Hamas, drastically improving the delivery of lifesaving aid, providing safe corridors for civilians and aid workers as well as humanitarian pauses in fighting, and on restoring essential services to Gaza. Duckworth has consistently called for bringing sustained and greater humanitarian relief into Gaza to minimize the suffering of innocent civilians. Her efforts include urging for the inclusion of full humanitarian assistance in any national security funding packages, calling for humanitarian cessations of hostilities, pushing for fuel to be allowed into Gaza for hospitals and water treatment and more.