Dozens of senators called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as the Biden administration blocked the United Nations from issuing a similar call.
Twenty-eight senators led by Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff, one of the Jewish members of the chamber, issued a statement calling for a ceasefire to “prevent any further loss of civilian life and to prevent further escalation of conflict.”
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who signed the statement, also issued a separate statement with Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana.
“As a result of Hamas’ rocket attacks and Israel’s response, both sides must recognize that too many lives have been lost and must not escalate the conflict further,” the senators said.
The statement came after Israel, whose airstrikes have killed nearly 200 people, destroyed a building that housed the Associated Press, AFP, and Al-Jazeera bureaus in Gaza. Israel claimed that the building also housed Hamas offices but Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that he has seen no evidence to back up that claim.
“Shortly after the strike we did request additional details regarding the justification for it,” Blinken said, adding “I have not seen any information provided.”
Biden blocks UN statement:
The Biden administration blocked the United Nations Security Council from issuing a statement calling for an immediate ceasefire for the third time in a week, according to Al-Jazeera.
The statement, which would have condemned Israel’s military response which has killed at least 58 children and displaced countless families, was blocked by UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
Thomas-Greenfield said at the meeting that the US was “working tirelessly through diplomatic channels” and that the US “has made clear that we are prepared to lend our support and good offices should the parties seek a ceasefire.”
Israel has said it will continue to defend itself from rocket attacks from Hamas. At least 10 Israelis, including two children, have been killed in the fighting.
Progressives ramp up pressure:
Progressive lawmakers have ramped up their pressure for the Biden administration to adopt a harder line on Israel in response to the aggression.
“The devastation in Gaza is unconscionable,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Twitter. “We must urge an immediate ceasefire. The killing of Palestinians and Israelis must end. We must also take a hard look at nearly $4 billion a year in military aid to Israel. It is illegal for US aid to support human rights violations.”
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused Israel of imposing a “form of apartheid” on Palestinians and said Israel was acting with the “support of the US” after it blocked the UN statement.
AOC took issue with the common refrain from Israel’s supporters that it is the lone democracy in the region.
“Apartheid states,” she said, “aren’t democracies.”