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Support for Israel-Hamas ceasefire grows across the US and in Congress as Gaza death toll surpasses 13,000

Nov 17, 2023; Washington D.C; Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside Union Station.
Jack Gruber/USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Co
Nov 17, 2023; Washington D.C; Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside Union Station.

Forty members of Congress are now calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, with more than a dozen adding their support in recent days.

While still short of the votes needed to pass a resolution, that number signals the growing support for an end to Israel’s bombing campaign and ground invasion of Gaza that has killed more than 13,000 people — the majority of them women and children — since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that killed 1,200 people — mostly civilians — in Israel.

“As the devastation in Israel and Gaza continues to claim more lives and displace more people, our calls for a ceasefire grow wider, louder, and stronger every day across the world,” said U.S. Rep. Cori Bush, who along with U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib introduced the Ceasefire Now Resolution in the House. “In the month since we introduced the Ceasefire Now Resolution and in the days following the horrific October 7th attack, we have seen enough pain, death, and destruction for a lifetime. The violence must end."

Not all of the 40 members have signed onto their resolution but Bush said it has served as a “springboard for a growing coalition” that includes several world leaders, human rights organizations, faith-based organizations, racial justice groups, and labor unions.

"While there are growing attempts to silence the diverse coalition of people advocating for peace, fighting to save lives no matter their faith or ethnicity should not be controversial," said Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress. "We will not be intimidated, we will not be silenced, and we will not stop calling for an end to this violence.”

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) stands with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) at a rally to demand a ceasefire in Gaza, after Israel began military action following Hamas terrorist attacks October 7, 2023.
Allison Bailey/Allison Bailey via Reuters Conne
Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) stands with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) at a rally to demand a ceasefire in Gaza, after Israel began military action following Hamas terrorist attacks October 7, 2023.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Nov. 15 showed 68% of the American public support the calls for a ceasefire — including 75% of Democrats and 50% of Republicans.

The poll also showed a drop in support for Israel. 32% of respondents said “the U.S. should support Israel,” down from 41% in the days following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

More Americans believe the U.S. should be a "neutral mediator" in the conflict, according to the poll.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that the U.S. was close to brokering a five-day pause in fighting in exchange for the return of hostages taken by Hamas.

Israel has repeatedly rejected calls for a ceasefire, saying it would only benefit Hamas. But according to the Washington Post, this is the first time since the war broke out that Israel has been open to negotiating a pause in fighting.

"We have not reached a deal yet, but we continue to work hard to get to a deal,” said White House National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson in a social media post Saturday evening.

Meanwhile, Israel is facing international condemnation for its military operations on a school and Gaza’s largest hospital, which the Israeli military claims Hamas was using as a command center.

Just a day earlier, a joint United Nations humanitarian assessment team, led by the WHO, entered Al-Shifa to see first-hand the dire circumstances of the facility, the groups said.

“A prerequisite for justice is the recognition that the Palestinian people are human beings, not ‘collateral damage’ or animals to be slaughtered at will by an occupying army,” said the Council on American-Islamic Relations National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

Of the members of the U.S. House who have called for a ceasefire, Texas has the largest representation — including Democrats Joaquin Castro, Greg Casar, Veronica Escobar, and Al Green.

Casar is the only Texas representative to sign on to the Bush-Tlaib resolution. Castro has faced pressure from local activists in San Antonio to sign on as well.

Protestors demanded an immediate ceasefire and called on elected leaders at all levels to bring more attention to the thousands of people who have been killed by retaliatory Israeli air strikes since October 7.

One of the most recent House members to sign on was Vermont Representative Becca Balint, the first Jewish member of Congress to call for a ceasefire.

“I’m one generation removed from the horrific trauma of the Holocaust, which impacted my family and reshaped the world. Like me, there are thousands of American Jews that share a deep emotional connection to Israel because of what it meant for the survival of the Jewish people in the face of extermination,” Balint wrote in a column for the nonprofit outlet VTDigger.

“This same history also drives so many of us to fight for the protection of Palestinian lives. I do not claim to know how to solve every aspect of this decades-long conflict. But what I do know is that killing civilians, and killing children, is an abomination and categorically unacceptable—no matter who the civilians are, and no matter who the children are.”

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