ACTION ALERT: Sumud - June 2024

Urge Congress to push for peace negotiations & humanitarian aid in Gaza

On May 31st, President Biden outlined a proposal for negotiations between Israel and Hamas in a publicly broadcast speech. In private conversations with senior U.S. officials, Israeli officials confirmed that they agreed with the plan and subsequently, Hamas issued a statement welcoming the proposal. Despite these indications, Hamas responded to the proposal with additional terms and the negotiations have since stalled. Meanwhile, Israeli military action continues in Gaza, where the Palestinian death toll since Oct. 7, 2023 is now said to have reached over 37,000. It is also estimated that, as of June 14th, 120 Israelis and foreign nationals remain in Gaza — both captives and fatalities whose bodies are being withheld.sumud logo 

Over 1.7 million people in Gaza, the overwhelming majority of whom are civilians, have been displaced from their homes. Too little humanitarian aid, including food and basic supplies, can enter Gaza to avert mass starvation. With few operating hospitals the Palestinian health system has collapsed, and experts warn that the lack of sanitation access in Gaza has increased a range of health issues such as skin diseases, hepatitis A, gastroenteritis and respiratory illnesses.

On June 12, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, stressed that “a significant proportion of Gaza’s population is now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions.” UNICEF has warned that almost 3,000 children who were receiving treatment for acute malnutrition in the south prior to the military escalation in Rafah have now been cut off from lifesaving services due to displacement and shrinking treatment capacity. “Our warnings of mounting child deaths from a preventable combination of malnutrition, dehydration and disease should have mobilized immediate action to save children’s lives,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, “and yet, this devastation continues.”

This comes amid rising criticism of the Netanyahu government — including by Israeli politician Benny Gantz, who recently announced his resignation from Netanyahu’s war cabinet, citing frustration with the prime minister’s continued lack of a “day-after” strategy for the war. Netanyahu subsequently dissolved his war cabinet and stated that he would rely on his security cabinet for consultation on the war moving forward. As 94 U.S. legislators continue to call for an immediate cease-fire, other legislators are concerned that Israel has violated the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 by preventing regular and sufficient entrance of humanitarian aid into Gaza. This week the U.S. government announced that it has imposed sanctions on a far-right Israeli group, Tsav 9, that has attacked humanitarian aid convoys on their way to Gaza. 

Amid political upheaval in the U.S. over President Biden’s approach to Netanyahu’s war policy, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are 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, push for an immediate and permanent cease-fire, and support continued humanitarian aid to Gazans.

In the absence of a permanent cease-fire, the humanitarian situation can improve only marginally. We call on all parties to redouble their efforts in peace negotiations.

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