WASHINGTON (WTNH) — Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is back in the U.S. following a six-day trip to the Middle East to assess the ongoing attacks between Israel and Hamas and their impacts on the region.
The trip was part of a bipartisan delegation of 10 senators that was organized by South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham.
The senators went to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, returning to Washington around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.
During a news conference, Blumenthal described the visit as “heartbreakingly sad and sobering, but also really moving and inspiring.”
He posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that “These world leaders agree, Hamas is a scourge that must be fought & dismantled. We must stand together to deter Iran, who enables & empowers Hamas, & ensure that Iran’s malign proxies don’t expand this conflict.”
Hamas launched an attack on Oct. 7 in Israel, killing thousands and taking hundreds as hostages. In response, Israel has launched aerial attacks on the Gaza Strip, killing more than 5,000 people. Israel is also preparing for a ground invasion.
The senators went to Israel and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former prime minister Benjamin Gantz and Israeli politician Yair Lapid.
“We delivered a powerful, forceful and unified message of solidarity with Israel,” Blumenthal said. “We met with the war cabinet.”
He told reporters the most powerful moment of the trip came when the senators met with the American families of hostages.
“One of the pictures shown to us was of this young girl whose parents were killed – whose family is lost, and she is a hostage, right now.”
The senators also went to Saudi Arabia and met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud to talk about the nation re-establishing diplomatic ties with Israel after years of animosity.
Blumenthal said the meeting brought a sliver of good news, stating that “Saudi Arabia is open to continuing negotiations toward normalizing relations with Israel.”
Lastly, the met with the president of Egypt, Abdel Fatta El-Sisi to emphasize the need for more humanitarian aid, like food, water and fuel at country’s border.
“The people of Gaza desperately need them, and Egypt can play a part in expediting and expanding that aid,” Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal said the group returned to Washington with a strong message to the Biden administration that everything must be done to contain the conflict and avoid further escalation.
He posted on social media, “The people of the world, as well as this region, deserve steps towards normalizing relationships, making peace and stability a realistic goal.”