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January 19, 2024

Pressley, Raskin, Lead 60 Lawmakers in Urging State Dept. to Affirm U.S. Opposition to Forced Displacement of Palestinians from Gaza

Over 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza have been displaced since Oct. 7

“The United States must ensure that there is no question that Palestinian civilians who wish to remain in the Gaza Strip must be allowed to do so.”

Text of Letter (PDF)

WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) led a group of 60 House lawmakers in urging the State Department to affirm the United States’ strong opposition to the forced and permanent displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, and to support an increase in humanitarian aid to the region. Since the brutal Hamas attack on October 7, over 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza—80% of the population—have been displaced due to the ongoing conflict.

In their letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the lawmakers voiced their support for the Biden Administration’s strong opposition to any consideration of the idea of forcible transfer of Palestinians and clear public comments reiterating that position, and expressed their concern about extremist rhetoric from Israeli officials and proposals from the Israeli government calling for the forcible transfer of Palestinians out of Gaza.

“We urge you to continue to reiterate the United States’ firm commitment to this position and ask that you provide clarification regarding certain provisions of the administration’s supplemental humanitarian and security funding request,” the lawmakers wrote. “Any forced expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza would only exacerbate the trauma and pain Palestinian civilians in Gaza are already experiencing as a result of this conflict and cause more regional tension and conflict for decades to come.”

The lawmakers also asked Secretary Blinken for clarity around President Biden’s supplemental humanitarian and security funding request transmitted to Congress on October 20, which requested funding to “address potential needs of Gazans fleeing to neighboring countries.

“In light of the President’s recognition of the importance of preventing Palestinian displacement, we aim to prevent any confusion or misinterpretation that this funding request could in any way signal U.S. support for potential transfer of Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip,” the lawmakers continued. “We ask for a clarification of the U.S. position on this question and that you continue to make clear American opposition to any forced transfer of population to both the Israeli government and the Palestinian people.”

Citing the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the lawmakers also urged Secretary Blinken to support the increase of humanitarian aid entering the Gaza Strip to address the humanitarian catastrophe.

“The United States must ensure that there is no question that Palestinian civilians who wish to remain in the Gaza Strip have the right to do so,” the lawmakers wrote.

Joining Reps. Pressley and Raskin in signing the letter are Representatives Becca Balint, Nanette Barragán, Ami Bera, Donald Beyer, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Jamaal Bowman Cori Bush, Salud Carbajal, Tony Cárdenas, André Carson, Greg Casar, Sean Casten, Judy Chu, Steve Cohen, Gerard Connolly, Danny Davis, Madeleine Dean, Mark DeSaulnier, Lloyd Doggett, Anna Eshoo, Dwight Evans, Jesús “Chuy” García, Al Green, Raúl Grijalva, Jonathan Jackson, Sara Jacobs, Pramila Jayapal, Henry “Hank” Johnson, Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Marcy Kaptur, Rick Larsen, Barbara Lee, Summer Lee, Stephen F. Lynch, Seth Magaziner, Doris Matsui, Betty McCollum, James P. McGovern, Gwen Moore, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Chellie Pingree, Mark Pocan, Mike Quigley, Delia Ramirez, Andrea Salinas, Linda Sanchez, Jan Schakowsky, Melanie Stansbury, Mike Thompson, Rashida Tlaib, Jill Tokuda, Paul Tonko, Nydia M. Velázquez, Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Susan Wild.

The letter is also supported by J Street, Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU), Jewish Voice for Peace Action, Americans for Justice in Palestine Action, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), Americans for Peace Now, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Peace Action, American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine, Amnesty International USA, Indivisible, Win Without War, Center for International Policy, National Iranian American Council Action, and Friends Committee on National Legislation.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Throughout this conflict, Rep. Pressley has been a vocal and consistent proponent of diplomacy, de-escalation, and saving lives.

  • Rep. Pressley joined a coalition of nearly 100 interfaith clergy and faith leaders on a joint statement calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
  • Rep. Pressley joined Congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) and their colleagues on a resolution condemning Hamas’ brutal attack and hostage-taking, and demanding Hamas immediately release all hostages.
  • Rep. Pressley joined Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Mark Pocan (WI-2), Betty McCollum (MN-4) and 20 of their colleagues in sending a letter to President Biden, asking him to support a bilateral ceasefire in Gaza to protect the one million children living there.
  • Rep. Pressley joined her colleagues in announcing a resolution urging the Biden Administration to call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Israel and Gaza, to send humanitarian aid and assistance to Gaza, and to save as many lives as possible. She later joined her colleagues and a multi-faith, multiracial coalition of faith leaders and organizers for a prayer and press conference to renew their calls for a ceasefire. Rep. Pressley also joined dozens of rabbis and Members of Congress for a press conference to renew calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.
  • Rep. Pressley joined Reps. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), James P. McGovern (MA-02), and 50 colleagues on a letter condemning the terrorist attacks by Hamas on the people of Israel, calling for Israeli military operations to follow the rules of international humanitarian law, and continuing to work toward peace in the region.
  • Rep. Pressley joined Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), and nearly 150 colleagues in urging the State Department to use all tools at its disposal help get Americans out of Israel and back home to the United States. She applauded the State Department for heeding her calls on October 12, 2023 and continues to press for the urgent evacuation of Americans in Gaza.
  • Rep. Pressley issued a statement following the safe evacuation of Massachusetts constituents Wafaa and Abood Okal and their one-year-old Yousef from Gaza.
  • Rep. Pressley delivered a floor speech in which she condemned antisemitism, Islamophobia, and all forms of hate on college campuses.