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Hundreds of Staffers in Congress Demand Lawmakers Call for Israel-Gaza Ceasefire

Those calling for peace "have been drowned out by those beating the drums of war," the letter writers note.

Protesters hold a demonstration in support of a cease-fire against the Palestinians in Gaza near The Mall on October 20, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

An open letter from hundreds of congressional staffers to members of Congress implores lawmakers to demand a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Gaza hostilities, and to use U.S. influence to help reach a peaceful end in the region.

The letter-writers are mostly self-described Muslim and Jewish staffers within the halls of Congress, though it is believed that there are also some allies who do not belong to either of those backgrounds who also signed on. The open letter is anonymous out of concern that their demands for their bosses to take action could hurt their job security, or could even compromise their personal safety.

In making their demand, the writers note that they themselves are the “children of survivors of slavery, the Holocaust, colonialism, war and oppression.”

“We write to implore our bosses, Members of the United States Congress, to join calls for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas,” the letter states. “Millions of lives hang in the balance, including the 2.3 million civilians — half of whom are children — in Gaza, civilians in Israel, and Jews and Muslims around the world.”

The letter itself doesn’t provide an exact number for how many signed onto it, but HuffPost reports that around 411 staffers in total endorsed the missive.

The letter-writers add:

Nationwide and in Congress, the voices calling for de-escalation and peace have been drowned out by those beating the drums of war. As Muslims and Jews, we are tired of reliving generational fears of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

The letter also notes that “antisemitism, anti-Muslim, and anti-Palestinian sentiment [is] on the rise nationwide,” and mentions the recent killing of a six-year-old boy near Chicago by his landlord, with the killer appearing to have been motivated by hateful anti-Muslim rhetoric from far right media.

“The voices of Members of Congress hold immense power — we have seen it firsthand,” the authors say in their letter. “We now ask them to use that power to protect civilians in imminent danger.”

The letter demands a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, an end to all hostilities, the return of Israeli hostages, and “the passage of essential humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.”

“Only once this immediate hemorrhage ends can we turn our efforts to end the status quo of occupation, violence and find pathways for lasting, sustainable peace for both Israelis and Palestinians,” the letter concludes.

The letter was sent prior to the start of the weekend. New developments add to the urgency of the demands from the congressional staffers, including the apparent start of ground operations inside Gaza by Israel Defense Forces.

Close to 5,100 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli air strikes since October 7, Al Jazeera reported on Monday morning. It’s believed that more than 15,000 Gazans have been injured because of the attacks and the required evacuation of more than 1 million people in the area, which experts have suggested likely violate international law. Around 1,500 individuals are still under the rubble of demolished buildings.