55 US lawmakers want Israel to follow laws

Published October 15, 2023
Israeli army Puma armoured personnel carrierss (APCs) move in a column near the Gaza border in southern Israel on October 14. — AFP
Israeli army Puma armoured personnel carrierss (APCs) move in a column near the Gaza border in southern Israel on October 14. — AFP

WASHINGTON: As many as 55 US lawmakers have sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, calling for Israeli military operations to follow the rules of international humanitarian law, and urging the Biden administration to continue working towards peace in the region.

“We strongly believe that Israel’s response must take into account the millions of innocent civilians in Gaza who themselves are victims of Hamas and are suffering the consequences of their terror campaign,” said the letter, which was released to the media by Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal.

Fellow Democratic lawmakers — Jan Schakowsky, Mark Pocan and Jim McGovern — joined Congress­woman Jayapal in initiating the letter, which also condemns “the terrorist attacks by Hamas on the people of Israel.”

This letter noted that more than 1,800 Palestinians in Gaza and more than 1,300 Israelis have already died in the ongoing conflict while more than 423,000 people have been displaced across the Gaza Strip.

“However this current conflict plays out, we feel strongly that the US government and the global community must continue the tough work to achieve lasting peace in the region,” the lawmakers argued.

“The future and safety of Israelis and Palestinians are intertwined. We cannot achieve lasting peace and security for Israelis without addressing the humanitarian crises in Gaza and the West Bank,” they wrote.

“We unequivocally condemn Hamas’ shocking and horrifying terrorist attack on Israel. This is the worst perpetration of violence inflicted on the Jewish people since the Holocaust. Our hearts are with those who were tragically killed and their loved ones who mourn their loss,” the lawmakers wrote.

“We also continue to hope for the safe return of those who were taken hostage by Hamas, including American citizens, and stand ready to support your Administration in bringing them home.”

These 55 members of the US House of Representatives called on the Biden administration to take the following priorities into account: communicate that Israel’s response in Gaza must be carried out according to international law and take all measures to limit harm to civilians; work to quickly restore the delivery of food, water, fuel, electricity, and other life-saving necessities to Gaza; establish a humanitarian corridor to enable the delivery of life-saving necessities and to allow Palestinian civilians and foreign nationals to seek safe haven outside of Gaza; and publicly discourage any hate crimes and backlash against any American — including Jews and Muslims.

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2023

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