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Odeliya Matter is FCNL’s program assistant for Middle East policy. In the blog post and video below, Odeliya shared how the devastating violence in Israel and Palestine has impacted her personally, and offered her perspective as an Israeli-American on the urgent need for action to de-escalate the violence and prevent more civilian suffering and death.

In recent days, I’ve counted losses that I still cannot comprehend —of friends I loved and faces I will never see again. As we speak, people I know are being held hostage by Hamas. I have family in imminent danger on the border with Gaza and friends who will never be the same after the trauma that they’ve experienced. 

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I’ve also lost touch with all of my friends in Gaza as they’ve been cut off from electricity, internet, or any other means of communication. I learned that two of them have lost their homes. Others have lost loved ones. One of their neighbors’ entire family of 15 was killed instantly in a bombing. We’re seeing entire residential neighborhoods with entire families being leveled to rubble and bones.

Testimonies of slaughter and gruesome images keep flooding our feeds from all directions. Dehumanizing rhetoric and calls to completely level Gaza, with over 2 million residents, are becoming increasingly normalized among Israeli and American officials, as the United States has indicated full support for any form of indiscriminate retaliation or collective punishment Israel should choose. Meanwhile, hostages in Gaza are at risk of being killed by either Hamas or the Israeli army avenging their capture.

This is a human crisis, and one thing is very clear: no one will win if this war continues to escalate.

It’s critical that officials in the U.S. do everything in their power to help secure the release of hostages. But we need your help to urge members of Congress and the Biden administration to also publicly call for an immediate ceasefire, de-escalation of violence, and creating a humanitarian corridor to expedite emergency relief to civilians in Gaza.

As an Israeli who also cares about Palestinian lives, this is a meaningful, effective way you can take action to bring us closer to an end to this nightmare. 

Odeliya Matter Headshot 2024

Odeliya Matter

Program Assistant for Middle East Policy (2023-2024)

Odeliya Matter is a program assistant for the Middle East Policy team.