This week Chicago made history by becoming the largest city in the United States to call for a ceasefire in Gaza! The vote was close, with the mayor breaking the tie in favor of the resolution. The decision came after weeks of applying pressure on city council members to stand by their constituency–the largest Palestinian population in the US! While the people are rallying in support of a ceasefire and for the liberation of Palestine, what is our president doing? Biden just suspended US funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) whose main focus since October 7 has been distributing food and aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Two million Palestinians rely on UNRWA in some way, shape or form.
The Biden administration made this crushing announcement to stop funding aid to Palestinians the same day the World Court declared it was plausible that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. Australia, Austria, Britain, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Romania and Switzerland have also joined ranks in suspending funding for UNRWA. The US and Germany are the top two funders of UNRWA, contributing hundreds of millions to the agency. These funding cuts are deliberately timed to exacerbate the already dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza caused by Israel’s bombardment, hastening the death of potentially hundreds of thousands.
Israel triggered this attack on UNRWA by alleging that a dozen UNRWA employees were involved in the October 7 attacks on Southern Israel. UNRWA, supported by UN resolution 194, recognizes Palestinians displaced to Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan as refugees with a right to return to their homeland—a threat to the Zionist political movement.
Israel’s repeated displacement of Palestinians since 1948 created the necessity for a UN agency solely for Palestinian refugees. Right now, nearly two million people in Gaza are displaced—400,000 are experiencing famine, and every civilian is without reliable access to clean water. The people of Gaza rely on the critical aid provided by UNRWA. It is unjustifiable for the Biden administration to make this devastating decision when over 30,000 Gazans, including 152 UNRWA employees, have already been murdered by Israel. We must demand Biden answer to the consequences of his actions.
The desperate attempts by the US and Israel to destroy Gaza is proof that our action is threatening their goals. We must keep applying pressure every day! Check out our page with quick actions you can take for Palestine daily, and do your part to end the horrific nightmare Palestinians have been experiencing long before October 7.
👉 Looking for more ways to get involved? There’s lots to do:
- Tell Blinken & Biden: Restore Funding to UNRWA Now!
- Tweet to White House press correspondents!
- Pass a ceasefire resolution in your city with this toolkit!
- Take action daily for Palestine!
- Check out our Toolkit for South Africa’s case against Israel in the ICJ!
- Check out our BDS toolkit!
- Join the #FastforGaza! Or if you’re unable to, Send Food to Gaza!
- Join us on 2/5 for the next Missing Peace Monday Community Call!
- Join our Palestine ListServ!
Nour and the whole CODEPINK Team