Sumud - March 2024

Palestinians in Gaza do not have much time. Increase policy pressure for an immediate, permanent cease-fire. 

sumud_logo_4c.jpgAfter the Israeli government and Hamas failed to come to an agreement during negotiations, Israeli military action continues in Gaza, where the Palestinian death toll since Oct. 7, 2023, is now said to have reached over 31,000.

Over 1.1 million people in Gaza, overwhelmingly civilians, are projected to face catastrophic levels of food insecurity between March and July 2024, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis released on March 18. Too little humanitarian aid, including food and basic supplies, is able to enter Gaza to avert mass starvation. With few operating hospitals, the Palestinian health system has collapsed, and experts warn that disease outbreak will soon follow along with mass famine.
 
Amid growing pressure from the U.S. public to negotiate an end to public environment of Palestinian citizens and infrastructure in Gaza, the Biden administration has begun air drops of humanitarian aid in concert with the governments of Jordan, Germany and Cyprus. In his State of the Union address, President Biden announced that the U.S. would work with both governments to build a temporary pier into Gaza so that shipments of humanitarian aid can reach Gazans. Experts acknowledge that neither the air drops nor the shipments are likely to meet the demand for the food and other supplies needed to ward off famine or disease. Some international humanitarian agencies have criticized the plan, saying that appear would not be necessary if Israel would facilitate, rather than block, the flow of urgently needed supplies by land. 
 
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and eight other senators have written a letter to President Biden calling on his administration to discontinue military aid to Israel because Israel has violated Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act by limiting humanitarian aid access into Gaza. 

President Biden has bypassed Congress more than once to fast-track arms and matériel to Israel. Despite the president's executive order in early February that conditions this aid on human rights standards, the White House has said that suspension of aid is unlikely. Congress is currently considering $14 billion in new assistance to Israel. Granting this aid would sanction the massive loss of life and destruction of communities in Gaza and would. disregard the humanitarian and international rights obligations of Israel, the United States and the international community, obligations that have been affirmed by the International Court of Justice. PNW
 
President Biden has requested a review of impending military arms transfers to Israel, but no action - beyond this review - has yet been taken to halt the sales and armament deliveries amid Israeli action in Gaza. 

Nonetheless, many Middle East policy watchers were stunned last week to hear Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D - NY), a renowned champion of Israel during his four decades in Washington and the highest-ranking elected Jewish American official in the US government, sharply condemn the Netanyahu administration. The majority leader stated that Israel's Prime Minister had "lost his way" and was a key "obstacle to peace." Schumer championed the demilitarization of the Palestinian territories as a part of a future peace process and more immediately, he called for new Israeli elections to be held.

This comes amid rising criticism of the Netanyahu government by Biden administration officials and a recent meeting in DC between senior administration officials and Israeli politician Benny Gantz, an outspoken opponent of Netanyahu. Other senior former Israeli officials - including Ehud Olmert, former Israeli prime minister, and Ami Ayalon, former director of Shin Bet (the Israeli secret service) - have also come out publicly against Netanyahu's far right approach to Gaza and the West Bank since October 2023. Despite this, Netanyahu retained funding support for his war among Israeli politicians in the Knesset this month.

Amid this political upheaval, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian lives are at stake, at at risk of death from disease, bombings and famine. Americans must continue to call on their congressional representative and U.S. Senators to uphold the U.S. obligation to prevent genocide in Gaza by rejecting more military aid and assistance to Israel, pushing for an immediate and permanent cease-fire, and supporting continued humanitarian aid to Gazans - both directly and through U.S. financial contributions to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency, the leading humanitarian organization serving Palestinians.

In the absence of a permanent cease-fire, the situation can improve only marginally, and experts warn that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza do not have much time.

Urge your congressional representative and U.S. senators to uphold the U.S. obligation to prevent genocide in Gaza by rejecting more military aid and assistance to Israel and calling for an immediate, permanent cease-fire.  
 
Customize your message below to reflect your values and priorities. Thank you for your advocacy. 
 

Recipients

  • President Joseph 'Joe' R. Biden
  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative

Contact

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Message

Halt military arms transfers & push for a permanent bilateral cease-fire in Gaza

Dear [Decision Maker],

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]