Tell Congress to help get more humanitarian aid into Gaza

With innocent civilians, women and children dying every day, Congress must act. 20 days into the Gaza crisis and the humanitarian crisis there gets worse every day. Over 1000 Palestinians have been killed; 398 women and children are dead, another 4500 injured, 750,000 lack access to water and one million are without electricity. Thirteen Israelis, including three civilians have been killed.

Each day that passes guarantees more innocent civilians will suffer. Tell Congress to act swiftly to help get more humanitarian aid and workers enter Gaza and to suspend all transfers of weapons to Israel.

Almost 30,000 letters were sent to Secretary Rice through Amnesty International. The letters together in concert with separate parallel actions from other Amnesty sections around the world helped bring about a positive vote at the UN late last week. The UN passed a binding resolution 14-0 on January 8th calling for an immediate ceasefire.

But despite mounting evidence of war crimes, both Israel and Palestinian armed groups continue to defy the resolution.

It’s critical that Congress acts. Congress can take two actions that will make a significant impact on the ground:

1. Urge Israel to allow for increased humanitarian supplies into Gaza and press Egypt to allow more wounded Palestinians to seek medical treatment in Egypt.

The Israeli three-hour truce to allow for humanitarian supplies to enter Gaza is not sufficient. A spokesman for the UN relief agency UNWRA said “When you are trying to feed 750,000 people a day in Gaza as we are, you need a permanent ceasefire. You can’t do that in a three-hour window.”

Although Egypt has opened the Rafah crossing allowing limited medical help in and injured Palestinians out, the number allowed to seek medical care outside of Gaza needs to increase dramatically. There are currently 4500 wounded Palestinians.

2. Suspend all transfers of weapons to Israel until there is no longer a substantial risk that they will be used for serious violations of human rights or international humanitarian law — such as in attacks that disproportionately kill civilians — while pressing all sides to stop unlawful attacks.

AI is calling for a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups. The US Arms Export Act of 1976 was passed to help guarantee that US-made weapons would only be used for legitimate self-defense and not for violations of internationally recognized human rights. The act requires the State Department to report to Congress when there is a ‘’substantial violation” of the law.

These demands comply with widely recognized international human rights law. Through the AIUSA online action, you can tell Congress to act now. Time has run out for the civilians of Gaza and Israel.

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