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Making a Ceasefire Last in Gaza

While watching in horror as the violence escalates in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, I am reminded that this is a crisis on top of a crisis.

Today I heard from my friend, Khaled Nasrallah, who works for the UN Agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza. With Israel shelling another UN school today, he is living in fear that his school will be the next target. On top of that fear, he and others in his community are struggling to get basic supplies. He said that even getting soap would do a world of good.

The seven-year blockade of Gaza, which has tightened further in recent days, has caused a humanitarian emergency. Urge your elected officials to call for a ceasefire and an end to the blockade on Gaza.

When I stayed with my friend's family in 2010, he said his children would often sleep on the floor because they were afraid of being too high up; the walls above them had been riddled with bullet holes.

No one—Israeli or Palestinianshould have to live under constant threat of death. The U.S. must call for an immediate ceasefire to stop the killing. That will require engaging not only Israel but also Hamas. But the U.S. must also call on Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza that causes unnecessary suffering for civilians. Without an end to the blockade, the ceasefire will not last.

Tell Congress and the president: a durable ceasefire agreement requires ending the blockade.

Violence and military force will never bring peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Military aid to Israel amounting to more than $3 billion per year creates a heavy moral obligation for the U.S. to ensure that this aid is not used in violation of U.S. law and fundamental human rights.

For more on our work for a durable ceasefire, check out my letter in the New York Times on my time in Gaza, this letter from FCNL and other faith groups to President Obama and updates on our website.

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