Menendez hoping for diplomatic resolution to Mideast conflict

New Jersey’s senior U.S. senator is hoping diplomatic efforts to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip will prove successful.

Sen. Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he’s not sure whether U.N. efforts will be enough to stop the hostilities.

“We need a cease-fire, but we need a cease-fire where Israel has accepted cease-fires then Hamas continues to lob missiles into Israel. That’s not going to work,” Menendez said Monday. “I know there are significant efforts to achieve a cease-fire. I hope it can do so.”

Menendez say it’s not acceptable to give Hamas a free pass because he says the militant group started firing the missiles and uses civilians as shields, he said.

If Hamas can be convinced to stop the fighting, he believes Israel will also agree to back off.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that Israel’s prime minister said Israelis must be “ready for a prolonged campaign” against Hamas in Gaza.

Benjamin Netanyahu also said in a televised speech Monday that a demilitarization of Gaza must be part of any future solution in the territory.

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