Gaza: Dozens of U.S. lawmakers urge Biden to call for ceasefire in Gaza

The letter, signed by U.S. progressive lawmakers raises concerns over Gaza’s children, who make up about 40% of the civilians killed by Israel

More than two dozen Democratic members of US Congress have signed a letter urging the Biden administration to agree to a ceasefire and an end to Israel’s assault on Gaza.

A growing number of Democrats now support a complete halt to the fighting between Israel and Palestinian resistance groups.

The letter, spearheaded by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Betty McCollum, and Mark Pocan, states that without a call for a bilateral ceasefire, “this war will lead to a further loss of civilian life” and will also risk dragging the US into a “dangerous and unwise conflict with armed groups across the Middle East”.

“We thank the President for calling for a humanitarian pause so that humanitarian aid may flow and diplomacy may take place,” said the letter, which also included signatures from Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, and Ayanna Pressley.

“However, given the present lack of an apparent and clear strategic plan, we encourage a redoubling of efforts to achieve rapid de-escalation through a ceasefire and robust, regional engagement that includes international humanitarian organizations.”

U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration have so far turned down calls from rights groups, Palestinians, and 120 UN member states calling for Israel to agree to a ceasefire.

There is also dissent growing within the Biden administration itself, with multiple dissent cables showing that many Biden administration staffers are in favor of a ceasefire.

A recent poll released on Wednesday also found that nearly 70 percent of American respondents are in favor of calling for Israel to agree to a ceasefire.

While the majority of Congress continues to oppose ceasefire calls, a growing number of congressional staffers have begun to push for a halt to Israel’s assault on Gaza.

Last month, a small group of progressive lawmakers introduced legislation urging the Biden administration to call for a cessation of the fighting. That bill currently has 17 cosponsors.

“War and retaliatory violence doesn’t achieve accountability or justice; it only leads to more death and human suffering,” Congresswoman Bush said in a statement announcing the bill.

The congressional letter also highlights concerns over the high number of child casualties in Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.

Out of the more than 11,000 Palestinians killed by Israel’s aerial bombardment and ground invasion of the enclave, nearly 40 percent have been children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Last week, the World Health Organisation said that Israel’s bombardment was reaching a point where at least one Palestinian child was being killed every 10 minutes.

“We are profoundly shocked by the grave violations of children’s rights in the context of armed conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the letter said.

“International norms require that all parties to an armed conflict protect children and prevent the commission of grave violations against them, including killing and maiming, attacks on schools and hospitals, recruitment and use of children, abduction of children, and denial of humanitarian access.”