Ilhan Omar

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), speaks at a press conference in favor of a cease-fire in Gaza outside in Washington, D.C. on December 14, 2023.

(Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Omar Leads Nearly 400 Global Lawmakers in Demanding Gaza Cease-Fire

"We can hold two things in our heads at once: that the attacks by Hamas on October 7 were a war crime, and that Israel has responded by committing crimes against humanity," said Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Nearly 400 international lawmakers on Thursday provided the latest proof that the Biden administration is isolating itself by continuing to back Israel's slaughter of civilians in Gaza, as parliamentarians representing U.S. allies including Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and Denmark were among those demanding an immediate cease-fire in the enclave.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) joined German lawmaker Sevim Dağdelen in leading 384 policymakers in signing the brief statement.

"We join together as lawmakers from around the world to call for an immediate, multilateral cease-fire in Israel and Palestine, the release of all the remaining Israeli and international hostages, and the facilitation of humanitarian aid entry into Gaza," said the legislators. "We further urge our own respective governments and the international community to uphold international law and seek accountability for grave violations of human rights."

Dağdelen called the international support for the statement "a strong signal for peace."

The letter was publicized as South Africa presented oral arguments to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), officially accusing Israel of genocidal acts and intent in Gaza and detailing its exhaustive evidence, including direct, public calls from top officials for the Israeli military to force Gazans to "migrate" and to treat all inhabitants of the enclave as legitimate targets—both violations of international law.

Biden administration officials have repeatedly said that Israel is only exercising its "right to defend itself" following Hamas' October 7 attack, and have dismissed South Africa's case as "meritless" despite all evidence to the contrary.

"We can hold two things in our heads at once: that the attacks by Hamas on October 7 were a war crime, and that Israel has responded by committing crimes against humanity—crimes that the United States, and much of the West, continue to let happen, despite our professed support for international law," Omar toldThe Guardian.

The signatories of the statement hail from countries including Mexico, Ghana, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Switzerland, and British signers include former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and House of Lords member Shami Chakrabarti.

Omar's progressive American colleagues including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), and Summer Lee (D-Pa.) also signed the letter.

Bush led progressives in introducing House Resolution 768 in October, less than two weeks into the bombardment which has now killed at least 23,469 people—mostly women and children—and left 59,604 wounded, including 1,000 children who have lost one or both of their legs since October 7.

As Omar pointed out to The Guardian, an end to Israel's assault would also be a step toward protecting Israeli "hostages who have now suffered for 133 days."

Despite growing calls for a cease-fire from the United Nations, international human rights and law experts, and the American public, the Biden administration vetoed a cease-fire resolution at the U.N. Security Council last month and was joined by just nine other countries in opposing a similar resolution at the U.N. General Assembly, while 153 countries supported the measure.

"We must refuse to be silent as the majority of the world is calling for an end to the violence and mass human suffering, and the need for accountability," said Bush on Thursday in a joint statement with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). "As one of the countries that has agreed to the Genocide Convention, the U.S. must stop trying to discredit and undermine this case and the international legal system it claims to support."

"Our commitment to protecting the human rights of all people," said the lawmakers, "must be unconditional."

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