Progressive US lawmakers demand lasting cease-fire in Gaza

Progressive US lawmakers demand lasting cease-fire in Gaza

'Calling for temporary ceasefire is not enough. We all here are saying we need a permanent solution' to Gaza conflict, says Rashida Tlaib

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA) - A group of progressive US lawmakers, led by Rashida Tlaib, demanded a lasting cease-fire Thursday in Gaza and implored President Joe Biden to act with full leverage to end the violence.

Tlaib said at a news conference with Cori Bush and Ilhan Omar that Palestinian families are displaced without food, clean water and shelter.

"Calling for a temporary cease-fire is not enough. We all here are saying we need a permanent solution to this ... we need a lasting cease-fire," she said, urging Washington to prioritize Palestinian lives and save women and children.

"Using starvation as a weapon of war is undeniably a war crime. There's a war that we continue again to be complicit," she said.

Tlaib, a Democrat from the state of Michigan, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "has a long history of turning to extremism and violence ... and there's a very real danger that he will expand the war regionally -- an effort to stay in power."

"Make no mistake. The United States is slowly being drawn into Netanyahu's war, and we're saying enough, enough," she added.

The US lawmaker said the alternative to a cease-fire is "continued death and destruction."

"And I'm here to say that not anymore, not on under our watch. I'm here to say that we must choose life over death, cease-fire now," she said.

Bush from Missouri said the Israeli government's threat to imminently invade Rafah is "unconscionable."

- 'Use your power'

"There is such widespread starvation that people have resorted to -- mixing animal feed with grass and feeding it to their children," said Bush. "There is nowhere else to go. Everywhere else has been destroyed, turned to rubble with bodies."

Echoing Tlaib's demand for "an immediate and lasting cease-fire," Bush said it would save 1.5 million Palestinians in Rafah.

"If the Israeli military invades Rafah, tens of thousands more Palestinians, more than the 30,000, will die. President Biden, we are urging you to use your power to lead us, lead us to a lasting cease-fire to do everything in your power to put an end to this violence," she said.

Jewish congresswoman Jan Schakowsky joined the lawmakers and said there must be an immediate and "long-serving" cease-fire.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu is absolutely on the wrong page and the very idea of going into Rafah means nothing more than more deaths," she said.

Omar, who represents the state of Minnesota, said Palestinians have endured decades of occupation by Israel and "an assault on Rafah extinguishes perhaps their last flicker of hope."

She said the tragedy in Gaza is being meticulously documented.

"Each war crime and violation compiled by journalists, human rights groups and UN agencies are bearing witness. And still, I ask where is the accountability for these crimes," said Omar.

She criticized the Biden administration for its unconditional support for Israel. "This administration cannot claim to be an honest broker of peace while greenlighting the massacre of Palestinians," she said.

Israel has launched a deadly military offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack, led by Hamas, killed less than 1,200 people.

At least 30,035 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, and 70,457 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.
Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the coastal enclave, leaving its population, particularly residents in the north where the shootings on Thursday took place, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Progressive US lawmakers demand lasting cease-fire in Gaza

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