Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Mark Pocan (WI-2), and Betty McCollum (MN-4) led Members of Congress in sending a letter to President Biden titled, “Letter on the Rights of Children in Gaza” asking him to support a bilateral ceasefire in Gaza to protect the one million children living there.
“We write to you to express deep concern about the intensifying war in Gaza, particularly grave violations against children, and our fear that without an immediate cessation of hostilities and the establishment of a robust bilateral ceasefire, this war will lead to a further loss of civilian life and risk dragging the United States into dangerous and unwise conflict with armed groups across the Middle East,” the letter reads. “Further, we write urging clarity on your strategic objectives for achieving de-escalation and stability in the region.”
The letter goes further than most demands for a ceasefire in asking for clarity on strategic objectives to achieve de-escalation. An issue most in the US are concerned with. While the majority of voters polled demand a ceasefire, it seems their elected representatives are set on ignoring their voices. Aside from Republicans ignoring the calls of their constituents, most Democrats are following suit leaving many to question whether they’re properly represented.
The letter reaffirms the congressional leaders’ “unequivocal condemnation of the Hamas attacks on Israel that took place on October 7th, in which Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals, and captured over 200 hostages, but it goes further to share the concerns of most of the US in the ongoing butchery of Palestinian civilians.
“We also share dire concerns with the ongoing Israeli response, in which the Israeli Defense Forces have killed over 11,078 Palestinians, nearly half of whom have been children,” the letter continues. “During the past 39 days of hostilities, at least 4,506 children have been killed in the Gaza Strip and at least 7,695 children have sustained injuries.”
“Additionally, about 3,250 Palestinians in Gaza, including at least 1,755 children, have been reported missing and are presumed to be trapped or dead under the rubble, awaiting rescue or recovery. During this same time, Israeli forces or settlers have killed 51 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank.”
Similarly, the letter echoes most voter sentiments in the level of shock by the apparent violations of international law and Israel’s willingness to ignore the United Nations along with most leaders around the world. While the initial response from the West was to allow Israel to “defend itself” with no red lines. The sentiments are seeming to shift with more leaders calling for a ceasefire.
“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 reads. “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.”
The letter is co-signed by 22 members of Congress as follows: Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, James McGovern, Mary Gay Scanlon, Raúl Grijalva, Pramila Jayapal, Joaquin Castro, Delia Ramirez, Henry Johnson, Greg Casar, Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Nydia Velázquez, Ayanna Pressley, Jonathan Jackson, Barbara Lee, André Carson, Jamaal Bowman, Summer Lee, Veronica Escobar, and Ilhan Omar.
Read the Full Letter Below
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