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January 12, 2024

15+ Prominent Illinois Organizations Call on Senators Duckworth and Durbin to Support a Ceasefire and Other Measures to End the War in Gaza

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, January 12, 2024

CONTACT: Etan Mabourakh | 954.817.3022 | [email protected]

Chicago, IL: Today, 15+ local organizations with an Illinois state presence delivered a letter calling on the U.S. Senators Duckworth and Durbin to support a ceasefire in Gaza as well as further legislative initiatives to ensure that U.S. military aid to Israel and other countries complies with U.S. and international law. Senator Durbin has previously called for a conditional ceasefire and supported certain legislation to apply human rights law to U.S. military funding, but Senator Duckworth has not joined her colleague in these positions.

QUOTE from NIAC CHICAGO CHAPTER

The coalition, part of a national campaign taking part in 17 states, includes peace, antiwar, faith-based, and other organizations such as World BEYOND War, Chicago Area Peace Action, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Students for Justice in Palestine, and more. 

These groups underscore in their letter that putting an end to all of the hostilities in Gaza is the safest way to secure the remaining hostages while simultaneously rebuilding a diplomatic foundation upon which peace and stability can be achieved.

The timing of this initiative is crucial, both in terms of the urgency of ending the slaughter in Gaza as thousands face starvation on top of the ongoing military offensive, and with the Senate likely taking up legislative measures next week. Foremost is Senator Bernie Sanders’ S.Res. 504 invoking Section 502(B)c of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, which would require a State Department report on Israel’s human rights violations. The organizations urged support for this resolution, along with the amendment offered by Senator Chris Van Hollen to the proposed supplemental funding bill with concentrated aid to Israel.

Following is the text of the letter and list of signers:

Dear Senator Duckworth and Senator Durbin,

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals representing hundreds of thousands of your constituents in Illinois remain steadfast in calling for a permanent ceasefire to end Israel’s disastrous military action in Gaza. Ending the assault is the best way to get all the hostages released, set the stage for diplomacy to find a solution to the seemingly endless cycle of violence in Israel-Palestine, and avert an escalation to a full blown war. 

But even while the assault continues, the Senate must do its part to ensure compliance with U.S. and international law. We thank Senator Durbin for co-sponsoring the Senator Chris Van Hollen et. al. amendment to the supplemental funding bill, which merely reinforces the fact that U.S.-taxpayer-funded military hardware provided to other countries must be used in a manner consistent with U.S. law, international humanitarian law, and the law of armed conflict. Regardless of the funding bill’s fate, this need to condition military aid upon compliance with international law remains relevant and worthy of the unconditional support of all U.S. legislators. We urge Senator Duckworth to join her colleague in supporting Sen. Van Hollen’s amendment affirming the rule of law and to call for a vote if a supplemental is brought to the floor.

We also urge both Senators to co-sponsor and vote for S. Res. 504, Senator Bernie Sanders’ resolution reaffirming Section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act (22 U.S.C. § 2304) which requires a long-delayed report on Israel’s human rights practices  in employing U.S. military aid. After months upon decades of devastation in Gaza, there is an urgent need for a meaningful debate on U.S. support for Israeli operations in Gaza and the West Bank, including the extent to which U.S. military aid may be supporting violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Section 502B(c) sets out a process for precisely this type of reporting and transparency.

Below our signatures is more information on both measures. Thank you for your attention to these crucial and timely initiatives to help end this conflict and save countless lives. We look forward to your response, and we are at your disposal to meet to discuss these matters further. 

Signed,

National Iranian American Council – Chicago Chapter 

Chicago Area Peace Action

Friends Committee on National Legislation – Chicago

AND: 

American Friends Service Committee

Assange Defense Chicago

Buddhist Peace Fellowship Chicago Chapter

Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism

CODEPINK Chicago

Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice

Neighbors For Peace/Evanston-Chicago

Occupy Elgin

Students for Justice in Palestine – Chicago

Peace Coalition of Southern Illinois

Veterans for Peace Chicago

World BEYOND War Illinois

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