13 House Democrats Call for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza

Progressives hope the resolution, which comes after Israel has killed nearly 3,000 Palestinians, will create an opening for other members to follow suit.

KHAN YUNIS, GAZA - OCTOBER 16: Civil defense teams and locals rush to rescue people from rubble of destroyed house of a Palestinian family hit by an Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, Gaza on October 16, 2023. (Photo by Belal Khaled/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Locals rush to rescue people from rubble of destroyed house of a Palestinian family hit by an Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on Oct. 16, 2023. Photo: Belal Khaled/Anadolu via Getty Images

On Monday, 13 Democrats in the House of Representatives, led by Reps. Cori Bush of Missouri, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, André Carson of Indiana, Summer Lee of Pennsylvania, and Delia Ramirez of Illinois, introduced a resolution urging the Biden administration to call for an “immediate deescalation and cease-fire in Israel and occupied Palestine” and to send humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“They are running out of body bags,” Tlaib said through tears in a press conference Monday. “We all know collective punishment of Palestinians is a war crime. The answer to war crimes can never be more war crimes.” It is a disgrace, Tlaib added, that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the majority of Congress have not even mentioned the possibility of a ceasefire. 

The resolution comes after two earlier efforts in the House both fell short of calling for an end to violence. The first — a bipartisan resolution led by Reps. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., and supported by over 420 members of Congress — did not even mention Palestinian civilians. As of Monday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza reports that at least 2,808 Palestinians have been killed, while 10,859 have been wounded.

The second, a letter led by Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Mark Pocan, D-Wis., urged Biden to push for access to food and water in Gaza and ensure Israel follows international law but similarly fell short of calling for a ceasefire. Sources said the letter excluded that language because doing so would have reduced the number of signers from 55 to a dozen or fewer.

The “pro-peace, pro-Israel” J Street threatened to withhold endorsements from members who refused to sign onto the McCaul–Meeks resolution. J Street was once considered an alternative group to support progressive members who did not agree with hard-line and unconditional stances of pro-Israel support like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or Democratic Majority for Israel. As The Intercept reported, J Street’s stance on the ongoing war has frustrated both former and current staffers who said its mission has been compromised. 

“What we are hearing from Dems right now is even worse than the typical anti-Palestinian narrative we always hear from the government. Israeli officials have openly admitted to genocidal intent, and Democrats are deliberately silent,” said one Democratic staffer who requested anonymity to speak freely. “They are willing accomplices to what is happening and what will happen in the coming days. Those of us staffers who have Palestinian family — or are Palestinians themselves — are totally abandoned and isolated here.” 

Below are the 13 representatives who support an immediate deescalation and ceasefire as of Monday afternoon:

Cori Bush
Rashida Tlaib
André Carson
Summer Lee
Delia Ramirez
Jamaal Bowman
Bonnie Watson Coleman
Jesus “Chuy” Garcia
Jonathan Jackson
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Ilhan Omar
Ayanna Pressley
Nydia Velázquez

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