Residents move away for safer spots amid destroyed buildings

Residents move away for safer spots amid destroyed buildings and debris around the Palestinian Telecommunications Company, which was targeted, after Israeli airstrikes in Gaza Strip on October 10, 2023.

(Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images)

As US Pledges More Support for Israel, Global Call for Cease-Fire to Prevent Further Bloodshed Grows

"There should be an international call for an immediate cessation of hostilities," said one expert on the crisis. "But the U.S. isn't doing that."

The governments of a growing number of countries on Tuesday joined human rights advocates from around the world in calling for an immediate cease-fire between Israeli and Hamas officials to spare further civilian casualties, which now number 900 in Israel and 900—including at least 140 children—in Gaza.

As Just Foreign Policy, a think tank that works to reform U.S. military policy, applauded calls for peace from several countries, advocates noted that the United States has so far shown no interest in pushing for a cease-fire, with U.S. President Joe Biden instead pledging to "stand with Israel" and essentially writing a "blank check for genocide," according to one political Palestinian-American analyst.

Biden announced plans to deploy "additional assets" to Israel as the country's military pummeled Gaza with airstrikes, decimating residential buildings and neighborhoods, a telecommunications company headquarters, healthcare facilities, and refugee camps.

As The Guardian reported, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)'s decision to call up 300,000 reservists following Saturday's unprecedented attack by Hamas signaled a potential ground assault in Gaza in the coming days.

Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk told Al Jazeera Tuesday that the group is open to "all political dialogues" regarding a cease-fire after it has "achieved its targets," but the group ominously warned on Monday that more than 100 people it took hostage over the weekend could be executed if Israel continued its air assault on Gaza.

In the Netherlands, the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) said Monday that the IDF, officials in the right-wing Israeli government, and Hamas must immediately "stop targeting civilians, launching unlawful attacks, and using indiscriminate weapons."

"Civilian harm from all parties, including the intentional targeting of civilians and civilian objects, is alarming and indicates violations of international law, including possible war crimes," said the group. "The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) should call for an immediate de-escalation, use their influence over leaders on all sides to ensure they exercise maximum restraint when using force, and avoid a further spillover of the conflict in the region. The UNSC should request safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance into Gaza and all affected conflict areas."

CIVIC added that governments delivering military aid to parties to the conflict must ensure that weapons are "not used in violation of international humanitarian law or human rights violations," and said the U.S. "bears a special responsibility in this regard" as the U.S. has provided Israel with $260 billion since World War II.

But Alex Kane, a journalist with Jewish Currents, toldThe Guardian that the U.S. is now "giving the green light to an extremist coalition to do what it wants with Gaza."

"Israel's punishing response will likely go on for weeks and include a ground invasion, which promises a high number of civilian casualties and widespread destruction of homes, roads, and infrastructure," said Kane. "With the U.S. refusing to restrain Israel, the consequences for Palestinians will be nothing short of catastrophic."

As Haaretzreported Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken "deleted a [social media post] where he called for a cease-fire"—one of at least two instances of Biden administration officials deleting posts urging restraint from Israel—and replaced it with the message, "Israel has the right to defend itself."

"There should be an international call for an immediate cessation of hostilities," Mairav Zonszein, senior analyst on Israel and Palestine for the International Crisis Group, told The Guardian on Tuesday. "But the U.S. isn't doing that, it's not calling on Israel to stop."

Just Foreign Policy began a running list of countries that have called for a cease-fire, including Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, and Bangladesh.

With the World Health Organization (WHO) counting at least 11 attacks on healthcare sites in the first 36 hours of the onslaught in Gaza, authorities said "there is an urgent need to establish a humanitarian corridor for unimpeded, lifesaving patient referrals and movement of humanitarian personnel and essential health supplies."

According toChina Daily, the Chinese special envoy on the Middle Eastern issue, Zhai Jun, told officials in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that China plans to "maintain communication and coordination with Egypt to push for an end to the violence."

By failing to join a growing number of countries in calling for a cease-fire and clearly condemning the loss of civilian lives on both sides of the conflict, saidChina Daily columnist Chen Weihua, "the U.S. government completely lost its credibility."

Biden "didn't call for immediate cease-fire and he literally endorsed more fighting and killing," said Chen. "The fact is: Israeli people's lives are lives. So are Palestinian people, the Iraqis, the Afghans, the Libyans… The U.S. bias in the Palestine-Israeli conflict is one cause of the prolonged conflict."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.