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May 2, 2024

Pressley Joins Jayapal, Dean, 50+ Lawmakers Calling on Admin. to Help Prevent Assault on Rafah

Text of Letter (PDF)

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) joined Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Madeleine Dean (PA-04) and 54 additional lawmakers in calling on the Biden Administration to use all tools possible to dissuade the Israeli government from moving forward with an offensive invasion into Rafah. 

“We write with urgency to say: an offensive invasion into Rafah by Israel in the upcoming days is wholly unacceptable,” wrote the Members. “Despite […] dire circumstances, the Israeli government is reportedly on the verge of a full-scale offensive on Rafah. An Israeli offensive in Rafah risks the start of yet another escalatory spiral, immediately putting the region back on the brink of a broader war that neither Israel nor the United States can afford.”

Before the horrific October 7th terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel, 280,000 Palestinians lived in Rafah. Now roughly 1.4 million people are sheltering in Rafah after being displaced. This dire humanitarian situation has been exacerbated by hindered access to food, water, and medicine in the Gaza Strip.

“We urge you to invoke existing law and policy to immediately withhold certain offensive military aid to the Israeli government, including aid sourced from legislation already signed into law, in order to preempt a full-scale assault on Rafah,” continued the Members. “If the Israeli government will not uphold international law and protect civilians, then the United States must act to protect innocent life. We urge you to continue your work toward achieving a lasting ceasefire that will bring hostages home and build a path toward safety and security for all.”

The letter was also signed by Becca Balint (VT-At Large), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Cori Bush (MO-01), André Carson (IN-07), Greg Casar (TX-35), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Judy Chu (CA-28), Gerald Connolly (VA-11), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Jasmine Crockett (TX-30), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Debbie Dingell (MI-06), Lloyd Doggett (TX-37), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Valerie Foushee (NC-04), Maxwell Frost (FL-10), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Al Green (TX-09), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07), Jonathan Jackson (IL-01), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (GA-04), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Dan Kildee (MI-08), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Summer Lee (PA-12), Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03), Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), Betty McCollum (MN-04), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-At Large), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Mark Takano (CA-39), Mike Thompson (CA-04), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Since the horrific October 7th attack, Congresswoman Pressley has consistently and stridently called for a bilateral ceasefire to save lives, return all hostages, and surge humanitarian aid to Gaza. Last month, Rep. Pressley delivered a floor speech in which she called for urgent de-escalation in the Middle East and renewed her calls for a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel to prevent a broader regional war.

Throughout the Israel and Hamas conflict, Rep. Pressley has been a vocal and consistent advocate of diplomacy, de-escalation, and saving lives.

  • 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 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 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 delivered a floor speech in which she condemned antisemitism, Islamophobia, and all forms of hate on college campuses.
  • Rep. Pressley joined a coalition of nearly 100 interfaith clergy and faith leaders on a joint statement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
  • 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 and Rep. Jamie Raskin 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.
  • 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 a coalition of interfaith clergy and faith leaders for a vigil to mourn the tens of thousands of Palestinians, Israelis, and innocent civilians killed since October 7th, and to renew calls for a ceasefire to save lives, return all hostages, and deliver humanitarian aid to the region.
  • Rep. Pressley joined her colleagues at a press conference to condemn the Israeli government’s pending invasion of Rafah and continued her calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.
  • Rep. Pressley joined her colleagues in calling for full funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to provide urgent humanitarian relief to Gaza.
  • Rep. Pressley joined Representatives Joaquín Castro, Jamie Raskin, Jan Schakowsky and 33 House Democrats to President Biden urging him to prevent an Israeli ground invasion of Rafah.
  • Rep. Pressley, amid heightened tensions in the region, delivered a floor speech in which she called for urgent de-escalation in the Middle East and renewed her calls for a ceasefire in Gaza to prevent a broader regional war.
  • Rep. Pressley filed a pair of amendments to increase funding to global humanitarian assistance and place a one-year moratorium on the transfer of offensive weapons to the Israeli military. The amendments were not adopted in the final legislation. 
  • Rep. Pressley voted against HR 8034 to send more offensive weapons and funding to the Israeli military, citing the Israeli military’s callous disregard for human life in Gaza and significant human rights violations.
  • Rep. Pressley issued a statement on the peaceful student protests taking place in Massachusetts and across the country.
  • Rep. Pressley issued a statement applauding the Boston City Council for passing a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.