In the midst of the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas, a group of progressive lawmakers, led by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), has sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging the administration to take a more assertive stance towards Israel.
Their letter calls on the United States to push Israel to adhere to international law and to assist in establishing a humanitarian corridor in Gaza.
1. **Reestablish Humanitarian Aid:** They call on the Biden administration to assist in restoring the delivery of food, water, and electricity to Gaza.
2. **Combat Hate Crimes:** The letter asks Biden to discourage hate crimes against both Jews and Muslims in the United States.
3. **Funding for Humanitarian Aid:** The lawmakers urge that any supplemental funding requests made of Congress should include humanitarian aid for both Palestinians and Israelis.
4. **Support for International Law:** They request that Biden emphasize Israel’s adherence to international law.
5. **Establish a Humanitarian Corridor:** The CPC members ask the U.S. to work with regional partners to establish a humanitarian corridor that allows Palestinian civilians to leave Gaza.
The letter acknowledges Biden’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas attacks but emphasizes the need for a response that considers the well-being of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, who are also victims of the conflict.
In light of the recent Israeli order for over one million Palestinians in northern Gaza to move south, something the United Nations has said is not feasible, the members of Congress expressed deep concern over the humanitarian consequences of such an evacuation.
“We are deeply concerned about the order to evacuate over a million civilians out of northern Gaza and the devastating humanitarian consequences that would ensue,” wrote the House members. “As both the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights said, imposing a complete siege on Gaza and depriving 2.3 million Palestinian civilians who have nowhere else to go — half of whom are children — of food, water, and electricity, would be a violation of international humanitarian law.”
The progressive lawmakers aim to shape the Biden administration’s policy response to the ongoing Middle East crisis, with their letter marking the most public effort yet by progressives in Congress to influence this response. While the administration has shown strong support for Israel, the demands by these lawmakers reflect the complexities and domestic politics surrounding the U.S. position on the conflict.
Approximately 40 additional co-sponsors joined CPC Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal and other key lawmakers in signing the letter.