LONDON: More than 500 Democratic Party staffers and veterans of US President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign have signed an open letter calling for his administration to commit to further action to hold Israel accountable for its actions in the Gaza Strip.
More than 230 Palestinians were killed and dozens of buildings leveled in Gaza during the recent conflict, while 12 Israelis died from rockets fired by Hamas.
The call to Biden, which was signed by both Jewish and Arab Americans, has come amid a deepening split in his party between progressives and centrists, like the president, who have consistently backed Israel in major disputes and conflicts. US public opinion has also steadily become more critical of Israel.
The signatories said they “commend (Biden’s) efforts to broker a ceasefire. Yet, we also cannot unsee the horrific violence that unfolded in recent weeks in Israel/Palestine, and we implore you to continue using the power of your office to hold Israel accountable for its actions and lay the groundwork for justice and lasting peace.”
The letter added: “The very same values that motivated us to work countless hours to elect you demand that we speak out … We remain horrified by the images of Palestinian civilians in Gaza killed or made homeless by Israeli airstrikes.”
The signatories said violence from both sides was unacceptable, but Israel should receive more blame due to its greater military power, its ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories and its blockade of Gaza.
“While Israelis had to spend nights hiding in bomb shelters, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip had nowhere to hide,” the letter said.
“It is critical to acknowledge this power imbalance — that Israel’s highly-advanced military occupies the West Bank and East Jerusalem and blockades the Gaza Strip, creating an uninhabitable open-air prison.”
The letter said the Biden administration must “investigate whether Israel’s most recent assault on Gaza violates the Leahy Law, prohibiting US military aid from funding foreign military units implicated in the commission of gross violations of human rights.”