WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — About a dozen progressive House Democrats are pressuring the White House to call for a cease-fire as Israel pummels Gaza with airstrikes, saying hundreds of thousands of Palestinians’ lives are at stake.
“Above all else, we must save lives,” Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., said.
She and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., the only Palestinian-American in Congress, say a humanitarian crisis is growing in Gaza.
“Entire families are being wiped out,” Tlaib said. “50,000 pregnant women are unable to obtain basic health services right now.”
Israeli forces have killed an estimated 2,500 Palestinians in Gaza since Hamas militants attacked Israel, killing 1,200 Israelis. Israel has cut off electricity, food access and even some water access until Hamas frees nearly 200 hostages.
“The collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza is war crime,” Bush said.
Their outcry is the minority opinion in Congress. The Biden administration has argued Israel has the right to defend itself and leaders on Capitol Hill have pledged to send more aid.
“These are not people you can negotiate with,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said of Hamas. “It strikes me as a little ridiculous to say the terrorists can attack and kill innocent men, women and and Israel can’t respond.”
Israel’s government has rejected calls for a cease-fire, leaving hundreds of thousands of civilians unable to flee and potentially caught in the crossfire.
The Biden administration says it is working to get humanitarian aid from Egypt to Gaza, but so far hasn’t brokered an agreement.