The Squad holds emotional press conference calling for permanent ceasefire, meeting with Biden

Progressive members of Congress stood in front of Capitol Hill on Thursday morning, demanding a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. 

The press conference was spearheaded by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American member of Congress whose district in Michigan encompasses the largest community of Arab Americans in the country. 

The press conference came as reports and images showing a disaster in Northern Gaza during an aid delivery have circulated widely. Hundreds of people are presumed to have been killed by a rampage of aid trucks as well as IDF fire. 

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) announced she and Talib will be formally requesting to meet with President Biden to demand an immediate, lasting ceasefire and for the Israeli government to cease any plans to invade Rafah. 

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard a lot about how the president and his administration are concerned and troubled by the Israeli government’s actions. We’re here to tell him, so are we,” Tlaib said. “And yet again, once again, we are continuing though to veto resolutions at the United Nations for the third time calling for immediate, lasting ceasefire.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI-12) addresses attendees as she takes part in a protest calling for a ceasefire in Gaza outside the U.S. Capitol (credit: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS)

A temporary ceasefire is not enough, Tlaib said. We are all here saying we need a permanent solution to this.

“Netanyahu, as we all know, has a long history of turning to extremism and violence to boost his failing domestic political support,” Tlaib said. “And there’s a very real danger that he will expand this war regionally in an effort to stay in power.”

Michigan Democrats cast protest votes

Tlaib said 53% of Michigan residents support a ceasefire, and 74% of them are Michigan Democrats. Earlier this week, 100,000 Michiganders cast protest votes against Biden for his support of Israel in the state’s primary election. 

“I am incredibly, incredibly scared of a second Trump term, and I think it’s really important to emphasize this,” Tlaib said of the ‘Vote Uncommitted’ effort. “Right now, our democracy is at stake. Many of us are saying change course because you’re threatening our democracy.”

Tlaib dodged answering if she will vote for Biden in November but said she encourages those who voted uncommitted in the primary to still show up to the polls as there’s more on the ballot than just the presidential election. 

We cannot allow the Netanyahu government to continue the assault on Gaza, Rep. André Carson (D-IN) said. 

Carson, along with 50 other House Democrats, sent a letter on Wednesday to the leadership of the House Committee on Appropriations calling for the US to restore full funding to UNRWA. 

Both Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) were in tears as they spoke of the humanitarian crisis and the number of children killed in Gaza. 

“When will this cruelty end, and for how much longer will the US offer full-throated support for the Israeli government as it violates international law and operates with callous disregard for human life?” Dingell said. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: vengeance is not a foreign policy doctrine, and we cannot bomb our way to peace.”

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