WASHINGTON - Nearly half of the Jewish-Democratic lawmakers in the House urged the Biden administration to do more on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calling for the U.S. to lead immediate deescalation through diplomatic engagement.
The letter, led by Rep. Jerrold Nadler and co-signed by 11 others, argues that with "more lives being lost each day, the United States cannot simply hope and wait for the situation to improve." It adds that "American engagement, action and leadership are needed now to stop the pain and suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians."
The letter comes amid growing criticism of the Biden administration's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with former officials and policy experts calling it neglectful and accusing the U.S. of empowering the growing assymetry of power between Israel and the Palestinians.
The lawmakers noted they remained deeply concerned with the violence in Jerusalem, including last week's Israeli police violence, urging the Israeli government to halt the "unjust eviction" of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem.
The Jewish lawmakers condemned rockets fired Gaza and stressed Israel's right to defend its citizens, and also noted they were "horrified" by Palestinian civilian casualties and "considerable damage to residential and other structures."
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They stressed that Palestinians should know that the "American people value their lives as we do Israeli lives, and recognize that they too have the right to live in safety, free from fear."
They said the violence of the past month, both between Israel and the Palestinians and the inter-communal violence within Israel, "show all too starkly what happens when the conflict, deepening occupation and incitement, go inadequately addressed by consistent and creative diplomatic engagement."
Nadler was joined on the letter by Reps. Jamie Raskin, Jan Schakowsky, Suzane Bonamici, David N. Ciciline, Kim Schier, M.D., Sara Jacobs, Steve Cohen, Dean Philips, Alan Lowenthal, Andy Levin and John Yarmuth.
Schakowsky was the sole Jewish lawmaker to join Thursday's bloc of pro-Palestinian voices during a series of speeches on the House floor, perhaps the most remarkable showing of support for the Palestinian cause in the halls of Congress to date.