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California Senate Candidates Debate Over Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire

In the recent California Senate race debate, candidates presented their views on the Israel-Hamas conflict. The event showcased a deep division in foreign policy opinions among the contenders.

Candidates’ Divergent Opinions

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Democratic Representatives Barbara Lee and Katie Porter offered pacifist perspectives, differing from Adam Schiff and Steve Garvey. Schiff and Garvey, on the other hand, refrained from supporting an immediate cease-fire.

Barbara Lee’s Stance

Lee criticized the Israeli offensive in Gaza, highlighting the loss of life it has caused. She emphasized that Israel’s security depends on a permanent cease-fire and a diplomatic solution.

The Israeli Offensive’s Impact

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The offensive, a response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack, has led to 1,200 Israeli and over 25,000 Palestinian casualties. Lee described this as catastrophic and counterproductive to peace.

Adam Schiff’s Perspective

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Leading in polls, Schiff focused on the atrocities committed by Hamas, including murder and torture. He stressed Israel’s right to self-defense and the challenges of ceasing fire while Americans are held hostage.

The Horror of October 7

GAZA STRIP – JAN 18 2009:Israeli soldiers partially withdraw from Gaza into Israel, as both Hamas and Israel announce separate cease-fires. — Photo by lucidwaters

Schiff expressed his shock at the magnitude of the October 7 attacks. He argued against a cease-fire, citing Israel’s need to defend itself from terrorist threats.

Lee’s Concern for Regional Stability

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Lee warned that without an immediate cease-fire, the conflict might escalate regionally. She stressed the importance of considering American national security in this context.

Escalation Risks

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According to Lee, the war’s escalation and the withdrawal of Arab nations could jeopardize Israel’s security. She highlighted the lack of a clear path to a Palestinian state as a major concern.

Porter’s Conditions for Peace

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Porter, advocating for a cease-fire, emphasized the need for specific conditions, such as the release of all hostages. She remarked on the complexity of achieving a cease-fire.

The Challenge of Cease-Fire

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Porter pointed out that a cease-fire is not a simple solution but requires international effort. She called for strategic efforts to avoid a perpetual war.

Garvey’s Realism

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As the only Republican on stage, Garvey described the idea of the U.S. forcing a cease-fire as naive. He stressed the importance of national sovereignty in such decisions.

Garvey on U.S. Response to Attacks

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Garvey compared the situation to the U.S. response to 9/11. He suggested that like the U.S., Israel has the right to control its destiny in response to attacks.

California’s Unique Primary System

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The debate plays a crucial role in the upcoming California primary. The state’s blanket primary system will see the top two candidates in March proceed to November’s runoff.

The Feinstein Seat

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The candidates are competing for the seat left vacant by Senator Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein served for three decades before her passing last year.

Upcoming Election Dates

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With the primary voting ending on March 5 and early voting beginning on February 24, the debate’s influence on voters is significant. California residents also have the option of voting by mail, starting February 6.

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