Israeli orgs. urge Biden to stop ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ in Gaza

A group of left-wing Israeli organizations submitted a letter to United States President Joe Biden on Tuesday, asking that he encourage Israel to discontinue military actions in the Gaza Strip and continue administering aid. 

The letter, which begins by condemning the October 7 massacre committed by Hamas but neglects to use the word “terrorist,” accuses Israel of not complying with the US instructions to act in self-defense in accordance with international law and the rules of war. 

Despite the implication that Israel is committing breaches of international law, the letter goes on to say that they do not wish to focus on this but their concern over the worsening humanitarian crisis developing in Gaza. 

A humanitarian crisis in Gaza

The groups argue that “Israel’s policy has driven the humanitarian crisis in Gaza to the point of catastrophe – not only as an inevitable outcome of war.” One example they give is that Israel discontinued the sale of water and electricity to the strip.

The letter claims that most of the civilian population does not have access to safe drinking water, although the letter does not cite where this information has come from.

Israeli left-wing orgs. urge Biden to stop ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ in Gaza. (credit: B’TSELEM)

Only 10% of Gaza’s water supply is provided by Israel, as reported by the Jerusalem Post in October. Eyal Pinko of the Department of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University also told the Post at the time that “Israel is meeting the basic criteria” for meeting international law.

The letter also addresses the number of civilian casualties caused by Israel’s military response to Hamas. The letter claims that more than 18,000 people have been killed and most are women and children; this statistic was cited as from the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry.


“It is crucial that Hamas release the hostages back into Israel. However,” the letter continues, “allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza is not a gesture of goodwill on Israel’s part but one of it’s obligations.” The letter claims that under international humanitarian law, a civilian population in an armed conflict that does not have the necessary resources to survive on available means must be provided with resources by the fighting parties. 

The writers also say that while some humanitarian aid has been sent to Gaza, it does not meet the needs of the population and cannot be properly distributed due to “the ongoing bombardments, the destruction of infrastructure and restrictions imposed by Israel.” 

The letter does not mention Hamas stealing aid or corruption as reasons that aid may not be distributed. The IDF released evidence that Hamas had stolen aid, as reported by the Post in November. 

“You have the power to influence our government to change its policy and allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, in accordance with Israel’s legal obligation,” the writers told Biden. 

The letter was signed by Academia for Equality, Akevot Institute, B’Tselem, Bimkom, Breaking the Silence, Combatants for Peace, Gisha, HaMoked Jordan Valley Activists, Looking the Occupation in the Eye, Machsom Watch, Parents Aginst Child Detention, Psychoactive PWG, Rabbis for Human Rights, Re’Acha Kamocha, Social Workers for Peace and Welfare, and Yesh Din, Zazim-Community Action.