Urge elected officials to call for a ceasefire, press parties to abide by international law, release hostages and protect civilians, and support humanitarian aid and access to Gaza!
The devastating loss of life in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories since October 7 has overshadowed what had already been one of the deadliest years for both peoples in recent memory. The US must intensify its efforts to halt the bloodshed, appeal to all parties to respect international humanitarian law, and promote long-term diplomatic efforts. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza must be addressed immediately, and all hostages still held in captivity must be released.
Israel has imposed a 16-year blockade of Gaza, which it has tightened since the start of the war. With Israeli administrative control of aid coming into Gaza through only two entry points, and the recent call to cut off Gaza from Egypt, US officials need to urgently press upon Israel to:
1. allow for humanitarian aid including water, food, shelter, and fuel to flow unabated and reach those in need in Gaza,
2. allow Gazans to access safe spaces such as schools, hospitals, houses of worship, etc., and
3. respect those safe spaces by abiding by international humanitarian law
4. enact an immediate ceasefire, and address the ongoing impact of the occupation.
The current conflict has displaced over 1.9 million Palestinians within Gaza. And Gaza remains sealed with no space for Gazans to move out of harm’s way. Over 24,000 civilians have been killed, and an overwhelming amount of Palestinian infrastructure in Gaza has been destroyed. Eighty percent of Palestinians in Gaza are on the verge of starvation.
The Presbyterian Church USA joined our global ecumenical colleagues in a recent letter to the Biden Administration calling for a ceasefire stating,
"Our faith compels us to speak out. To make clear that we oppose violence, whether directed toward Israelis or Palestinians. Even the loss of one more life is one too many. International humanitarian law must be respected and adhered to by all sides. We cannot remain silent as generations of families in Gaza are wiped out in an instant. World leaders cannot sit by while Palestinian civilians in Gaza experience such catastrophic destruction and trauma. The relentless and unrestrained bombing campaign with horrific indiscriminate effects and the ground invasion by Israel must end... We are deeply grieved by the complicity of the United States and several other Western countries in the continued violence through efforts to actively oppose a ceasefire, including by vetoing multiple United Nations Resolutions. Instead, we call on governments worldwide to do everything possible to secure a bilateral ceasefire, one that will stop all violence from Hamas and Israel, allow for the safe release of civilian hostages held in Gaza, and give immediate and adequate access to desperately needed humanitarian aid to be delivered, including through crossings to Israel."
Join the call from the global ecumenical community! Contact the administration and members of Congress today and urge them to support a ceasefire, guarantee humanitarian aid to Gaza, and ensure respect for international law!