A group of progressives in the U.S. House introduced a resolution Monday calling on the Biden administration to push for an immediate deescalation and cease-fire in Israel and the occupied Gaza Strip amid a worsening humanitarian disaster.
The “Cease-Fire Now Resolution” urges Biden administration officials to use the “immense diplomatic power” of the United States to “save Israeli and Palestinian lives.”
The brief resolution also demands that the administration “promptly send and facilitate the entry of humanitarian assistance into Gaza” as the World Health Organization warns that the territory has roughly 24 hours of water, electricity, and fuel left.
“I am grieving for every Palestinian, Israeli, and American life lost to this violence, and my heart breaks for all those who will be forever traumatized because of it,” Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), one of the leaders of the new resolution, said in a statement. “The United States bears a unique responsibility to exhaust every diplomatic tool at our disposal to prevent mass atrocities and save lives. We can’t bomb our way to peace, equality, and freedom. With thousands of lives lost and millions more at stake, we need a cease-fire now.”
A dozen House Democrats joined Bush in backing the cease-fire resolution: Reps. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), André Carson (Ind.), Summer Lee (Pa.), Delia Ramirez (Ill.), Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.), Jesús García (Ill.), Jonathan Jackson (Ill.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), and Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.).
The resolution was also endorsed by dozens of advocacy groups, including Jewish Voice for Peace Action, 350.org, American Muslims for Palestine, and the Working Families Party.
“With over 2,600 Palestinians, more than 1,400 Israelis, and 30 Americans killed, scores of others wounded, hostages’ lives at risk, and millions in Gaza lacking food, electricity, and clean drinking water, we must pursue an immediate cease-fire to protect civilians and save lives,” Pressley said in a statement. “The United States has a moral obligation to get Americans in Gaza and Israel safely home, save Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives, and ensure humanitarian assistance is provided to Gaza. Our shared humanity is at stake and we must move with urgency.”
The resolution came as hundreds of Jewish Americans and allies rallied outside the White House on Monday imploring the Biden administration to support a cease-fire. Last week, HuffPost viewed internal emails showing that U.S. State Department officials have urged diplomats not to use the terms “deescalation” or “cease-fire” in press materials.
More and more of us are streaming towards the White House now. pic.twitter.com/Zqlml4eUyl— IfNotNow🔥 (@IfNotNowOrg) October 16, 2023
Meanwhile, the White House and congressional leaders are working on a major weapons package for Israel as it continues its relentless bombing campaign in Gaza, obliterating the enclave’s infrastructure, displacing more than a million people, and wiping out entire families.
Relatively few U.S. lawmakers thus far have been willing to demand a cease-fire even as the grisly death toll in Gaza and Israel mounts and the humanitarian crisis in the occupied territory deepens, fueled by Israel’s airstrikes and total blockade. Those who were first to publicly call for a cease-fire — including Bush and Tlaib — were attacked by their fellow lawmakers, including members of their own party.
Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress, is currently facing a Republican-authored censure resolution. The Michigan Democrat has condemned the measure as an attempt to “silence” her voice.
Other members of the House, led by Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), are pushing a resolution that says the U.S. “stands ready to assist Israel with emergency resupply and other security, diplomatic, and intelligence support.”
That resolution doesn’t mention the thousands of Palestinians that Israel has killed in Gaza since October 7 or the humanitarian crisis.
In a statement on Monday, Tlaib said that “we need legislation that saves as many lives as possible, no matter one’s faith or ethnicity.”
“I am proud to join my colleagues and a coalition of human rights advocates in calling for deescalation, cease-fire, and a strong humanitarian response that prevents more devastating civilian casualties across the region,” said Tlaib.
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