WASHINGTON – Democratic lawmakers increased pressure on the Biden administration, urging the president to facilitate an immediate cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians that would end the deadliest round of Gaza violence in years.
Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Chris Van Hollen introduced a resolution on Wednesday calling for an immediate cease-fire.
A draft of the resolution obtained by Haaretz opens by stating "every Palestinian life matters" and "every Israeli life matters," and goes on to urge a cease-fire "to prevent any further loss of life and to prevent further escalation."
The draft also "supports diplomatic efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, uphold international law, and protect the human rights of Israelis and Palestinians."
Senators Martin Heinrich, Tim Kaine, Tom Carper, Chris Murphy, Jeff Merkley, Jon Ossoff, Patrick Leahy and Ed Markey also co-sponsored the resolution later on.
Meanwhile, 138 House Democrats, pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel alike — organized by Reps. David Price and Gerald Connolly and co-led by Reps. Ro Khanna, Jan Schakowsky, Peter Welch, Barbara Lee, Alan Lowenthal, Mark Pocan, Lloyd Doggett and John Yarmuth — wrioe to Biden that "the alternative is an unfolding human tragedy of unimaginable dimensions."
According to a draft obtained by Haaretz, they wrote that "too many people have already died and warn Biden that "more will unnecessarily perish if America does not act with the immediacy this violence demands." They note that many of the issues underlying the conflict have been deferred for too long and also demand attention, "but a cease-fire comes first."
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They added that they appreciate Biden's expression of support for a cease-fire during his Monday conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the work the administration is undertaking behind the scenes to de-escalate tensions, "but we strenuously urge your administration, at the highest levels, to boldly lead and take decisive action to end the violence."
Biden on Wednesday issued his strongest statements yet on the need for a cease-fire, telling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he "expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a cease-fire."
The administration is working to push back against allegations from both parties that it has not done enough in its efforts to de-escalate tensions, with U.S. officials telling various media outlets that behind-the-scenes diplomacy was its most effective method of pressing Israel and limiting both the time and scope of its military operation.
Americans for Peace Now supports both the resolution and the letter. "The fact that there is so much happening in Congress is a sign that the old politics is no longer, and that members of Congress are speaking up for a just Middle East policy, an end to the occupation and a path toward peace," APN President Hadar Susskind said.