A group of 55 prominent artists and entertainment industry advocates have signed an open letter to the president and called for a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel.
The signatories include names such as Joaquin Phoenix, Cate Blanchett, Jon Stewart, Susan Sarandon, Mahershala Ali, Riz Ahmed, and Quinta Brunson.
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“We call on your government and all world leaders to honor all lives in the Holy Land and to immediately demand and facilitate a ceasefire – an end to the bombardment of Gaza and the safe release of the hostages,” it said letter.
The statement distributed by the organization Artists 4 Ceasefire also includes a comment from UNICEF spokesman James Elder, who emphasizes the devastation being inflicted on the people of Gaza by ongoing Israeli airstrikes and blockages of water and electricity.
“Children and families in Gaza are left with virtually no food, water, electricity, medicine and safe access to hospitals after days of airstrikes and disruptions to all supply lines,” Elder’s statement said. “The only power plant in the Gaza Strip ran out of fuel on Wednesday afternoon and power, water and wastewater treatment were shut down. Most residents can no longer obtain drinking water from service providers or household water via pipes. The humanitarian situation has reached a deadly low, and yet all reports point to further attacks. Compassion – and international law – must prevail.”
Another letter calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and the provision of humanitarian aid to the region was signed by several significant signatories earlier this week. The statement from Artists for Palestine UK, has been signed by the likes of Tilda Swinton, Charles Dance, Steve Coogan, Miriam Margolyes, Michael Winterbottom, Mike Leigh and Asif Kapadia. The letter accused the British government of “not only condoning war crimes but also aiding and abetting them.”
On October 7, the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel, killing more than 1,400 people and taking over 200 hostages. The Israeli government responded with what Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant described as a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, more than 3,800 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict.
During a visit to Israel earlier this week, President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ loyalty to Israel and said he would “ask the United States Congress for an unprecedented support package for the defense of Israel.” He also worked with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on an agreement to open the country’s sealed border with Gaza, allowing up to 20 trucks of humanitarian aid to deliver aid to a population of more than two million people.
Read the full statement and list of signatories below.
Dear President Biden,
We come together as artists and advocates, but most importantly as people who are witnessing the devastating loss of life and unfolding horrors in Israel and Palestine.
We ask you, as President of the United States, to call for immediate de-escalation and a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost. More than 5,000 people have been killed in the last week and a half – a number that every person in conscience knows is catastrophic. We believe that all life is sacred, regardless of faith or ethnicity, and we condemn the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians.
We call on your government and all world leaders to honor all lives in the Holy Land and to immediately demand and facilitate a ceasefire – an end to the bombing of Gaza and the safe release of the hostages. Half of Gaza’s two million residents are children, and more than two-thirds are refugees and their descendants forced to leave their homes. Humanitarian aid must be made possible for them.
We believe the United States can play an important diplomatic role in ending the suffering, and we join the voices of the U.S. Congress, UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and many others. Saving lives is a moral imperative. To echo UNICEF: “Compassion – and international law – must prevail.”
As of this writing, more than 6,000 bombs have been dropped on Gaza in the last 12 days – killing one child every 15 minutes.
“After days of air strikes and disruptions to all supply routes, children and families in Gaza are left with virtually no food, water, electricity, medicine and safe access to hospitals. Gaza’s only power plant ran out of fuel on Wednesday afternoon and shut down electricity, water and wastewater treatment. Most residents can no longer obtain drinking water from service providers or household water via pipes. The humanitarian situation has reached a deadly low, and yet all reports point to further attacks. Compassion – and international law – must prevail.” – UNICEF spokesman James Elder
Beyond our pain and sadness for everyone there and their loved ones around the world, we are motivated by an indomitable will to stand up for our common humanity. We stand for freedom, justice, dignity and peace for all people – and the deep desire to stop more bloodshed.
We refuse to tell future generations the story of our silence, of standing by and doing nothing. Emergency relief chief Martin Griffiths told UN News: “History is watching.”
Aria Mia Loberti
Fatima Farheen Mirza
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