Over 500 Biden, Dem Party Staffers Urge Him to Back Palestinian Human Rights

Over 500 Biden, Dem Party Staffers Urge Him to Back Palestinian Human Rights children sit in rubble with guns Palestinian children ride on a donkey-drawn cart amid the destruction following a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, in the northern Gaza Strip on May 24, 2021. (Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images)

By Theodore Bunker | Monday, 24 May 2021 06:04 PM

President Joe Biden faces pressure from over 500 staffers from the Democratic Party and his 2020 campaign to increase his efforts to support the human rights of Palestinians amid ongoing violence in the region, The Washington Post reports.

In a letter, the signatories praise Biden for his attempts to reach a peaceful agreement during the recent violence, but urge him to demand that Israel cease its expansion into the West Bank, support a call for Israel to abide by international law, and provide for a humanitarian corridor in Gaza that would assist in emergency evacuations and “support Palestinians’s right to self-determination.”

The letter notes that “The very same values that motivated us to work countless hours to elect you demand that we speak out in the aftermath of the recent explosive violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, which is inextricable from the ongoing history of occupation, blockade, and settlement expansion. We remain horrified by the images of Palestinian civilians in Gaza killed or made homeless by Israeli airstrikes. We are outraged by Israel’s efforts to forcibly and illegally expel Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah. We are shocked by Israel’s destruction of a building housing international news organizations. We remain horrified by reports of Hamas rockets killing Israeli civilians.”

They continue: “To ensure a lasting ceasefire and a future of peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians, we ask that you work to end the underlying conditions of occupation, blockade, and settlement expansion that led to this exceptionally destructive period in a 73-year history of dispossession and ethnic cleansing. The resulting status quo is one that international and Israeli human rights organizations agree meets the definition of the crime of apartheid under international law. Finally, we are deeply concerned that Israel continues to use U.S.-funded military equipment to kill civilians, target journalists, and violently suppress protests in Israel, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.”

“President Biden must do better,” signatory Heba Mohammad, a Palestinian American staffer who worked as digital organizing director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in 2020 during the election cycle, told the Post in a statement. “A ceasefire in this latest bombing campaign is welcomed, but Palestinian suffering continues because there has not been a cessation in Israel’s blockade of Gaza, land annexation in the West Bank, mass arrests and raids, ethnic cleansing, illegal occupation, and the 73-year cycle of dispossession.”

Another of the letter’s co-authors, Israeli American Matan Arad-Neeman who worked as an organizer for Biden during the 2020 campaign, said that “As an Israeli American proud to have helped elect Biden in Arizona, I am horrified by the daily nightmare of occupation and apartheid. American inaction on human rights violations by the Israeli government, all while the administration continues to sell weapons to Israel, does not help my family in Israel or keep them safe.”

Biden said in a statement on Monday: “Following up on our quiet, intensive diplomacy to bring about a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, I have asked my Secretary of State, Tony Blinken, to travel to the Middle East this week. During his trip, Secretary Blinken will meet with Israeli leaders about our ironclad commitment to Israel’s security. He will continue our administration’s efforts to rebuild ties to, and support for, the Palestinian people and leaders, after years of neglect.”

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