We are witnessing horror unfolding on an unimaginable scale in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Write to US President Biden and the US ambassador to Canada with an urgent call for the United States to support an immediate ceasefire by all parties in the occupied Gaza Strip. A ceasefire is currently the only feasible step to prevent further loss of civilian lives, the return of civilian hostages, and ensure access to life-saving aid for people in Gaza.
Israel’s ruthless bombardment has brought mass bloodshed and suffering to millions and has been unparalleled in its intensity and the scale of devastation and suffering. More than 18,000 people, over a third of which are children, have been killed in Gaza. Over 1,200 people have been killed during the horrific attacks by Hamas and other armed groups in Israel on October 7. Israel’s intensified siege has also cut off water, food, medical supplies and fuel to a people in desperate need in a deliberate act of cruelty intended as collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian population.
A “humanitarian pause” while hostages and prisoners were exchanged was welcome and brought both renewed aid and a brief respite to more than 2 million civilians who have borne the brunt of Israel’s ruthless daily onslaught in the occupied Gaza Strip. But halting the fighting for a matter of days is nowhere near enough to address the catastrophic suffering or relieve the horrifying harm to civilians.
Amnesty continues to call for a meaningful and effective ceasefire which must at a minimum:
- Cover the whole of the Gaza Strip and is of sufficient duration to allow for a substantive alleviation of suffering.
- Allow the free and safe movement of civilians and humanitarian personnel throughout the Strip.
- Allow for the dead to be recovered, buried and mourned, the wounded to be properly taken care of and treated, and the hospitals and clinics to be repaired and to receive essential materials.
Independent observers, including staff from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Commission of Inquiry for Israel and OPT, the UN Special Rapporteur on OPT, the International Criminal Court and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International should be given access to the Gaza strip to conduct investigations into the situation on the ground, including unlawful air and ground strikes and other violations of international humanitarian law by all parties.
Because of its close relationship with the Israeli government—which includes sending billions of dollars in military funding and weapons annually—the United States plays a key role and has a responsibility to ensure civilians are protected and a humanitarian collapse is prevented.
Use the White House contact form to send a message to President Biden: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/. Call on him to:
- Publicly call for and facilitate an immediate and sustained ceasefire by all parties.
- Put pressure on the government of Israel to immediately lift the illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip and allow unimpeded humanitarian aid.
- Call on all parties to respect the rules of international humanitarian law, including the prohibition of direct attacks on civilians and on civilian objects, of indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, collective punishments, hostage-taking, and abduction of civilians.
- Support the safe release of all civilian hostages.
- Support the release of Palestinian detainees.
- Immediately suspend the sale or transfer of weapons to Israel.
Please also print and send a copy of your message to the US ambassador to Canada:
David L Cohen, Ambassador
Embassy of the United States of America
PO Box 866, Station B
Ottawa ON K1P 5T1
Note: No email address is available for the US ambassador to Canada.
On December 5, 2023, a new investigation published by Amnesty International found that US-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) were used by the Israeli military in two deadly, unlawful air strikes on homes full of civilians in the occupied Gaza Strip. The organization found that these air strikes were either direct attacks on civilians or civilian objects or indiscriminate attacks and is calling for them to be investigated as war crimes.
On December 8, 2023, the US veto of UN Security Council ceasefire resolution displayed callous disregard for civilian suffering in face of staggering death toll.
What else can I do to help?
For more ways to take action and further information on the current crisis and Amnesty’s work on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, check out the action toolkit on our country page.
Top image: Activists outside the White House by Amnesty International USA