Authors urge Biden to end ‘underlying conditions of occupation, blockade, and settlement expansion’ that led to conflict.
Hundreds of US President Joe Biden’s campaign staffers signed on to a letter on Monday demanding their former boss “hold Israel accountable” for the disproportionate number of deaths incurred in Tel Aviv’s offensive on the Gaza Strip.
“We commend your efforts to broker a ceasefire,” the staffers wrote. “Yet, we also cannot unsee the horrific violence that unfolded in recent weeks in Israel/Palestine, and we implore you to continue using the power of your office to hold Israel accountable for its actions and lay the groundwork for justice and lasting peace.”
Published on the Medium website, the letter is signed by over 500 Biden campaign and Democratic National Committee staffers, including people who worked at Biden’s campaign headquarters and individuals who worked in swing states that were pivotal to Biden’s victory.
“While we should never reduce the loss of human life to numbers, Palestinians have suffered hundreds of casualties, demonstrative of Israel’s power over Palestinians and its penchant for disproportionate responses,” the letter says.
“Israel’s protracted refusal to consider a ceasefire also put Israelis in harm’s way, prolonging the violence of Hamas’s barrage of rockets and Israel’s air strikes — a cycle that is bound to repeat itself as long as we allow the status quo to stand, where Palestinians have no freedom and Israel controls their lives in perpetuity,” it adds.
Israel’s offensive on Gaza left 248 Palestinians, including 66 children and 39 women, dead, and injured more than 1,900 others, according to the Gaza-based Health Ministry.
Twelve people were killed in Israel due to Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza.
Biden dispatched Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the region this week for consultations with Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and Jordanian officials in travel the State Department says is focused on “follow-up efforts to consolidate the ceasefire and reduce risks of further conflict over the coming months.”
In addition to addressing the conflict that concluded with a ceasefire last Friday, the letter signed by campaign and Democratic staffers urges Biden “to end the underlying conditions of occupation, blockade, and settlement expansion that led to this exceptionally destructive period.”
Those actions include demanding the Israeli government allow a humanitarian corridor into Gaza to evacuate the injured and facilitate the delivery of critical medications, lift Israel’s ongoing blockade of Gaza, end expulsions of Palestinians in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, and end settlement expansions in the occupied West Bank.
The letter’s authors also urged Biden to “ensure U.S. aid no longer funds the imprisonment and torture of Palestinian children, theft and demolition of Palestinian homes and property, and annexation of Palestinian land.”