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As the war in Gaza continues into its sixth month, the consequences for civilians have been devastating. More than 31,000 Palestinians have been killed, and the United Nations is warning of imminent famine in Gaza if urgent action is not taken to surge aid deliveries. Over 1,476 Israelis have been killed since October 7, while 134 hostages remain in captivity in Gaza.

But with each passing day, the historic grassroots movement for a ceasefire continues to grow stronger. This pressure is having a direct impact. As the crisis deepens, our advocacy is more important than ever to help end this catastrophic violence.

Early on in the war, U.S. officials called efforts to press for a ceasefire “repugnant” and “disgraceful” as they doubled down on unconditional support for Israel’s indiscriminate military campaign. But the tone of the conversation in Washington D.C. has significantly changed since then due to both the worsening humanitarian disaster and the outpouring of grassroots pressure. 

Now, nearly 80 members of Congress have called for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. Responding to mounting Congressional pressure, Vice President Kamala Harris recently called for an immediate six-week ceasefire and President Biden asserted that an Israeli ground offensive in Rafah could result in restrictions on U.S.  military aid to Israel.

FCNL’s grassroots advocates around the United States have made an enormous contribution to this momentum. Together, our network has generated over 600,000 emails to Congressional offices and conducted at least 170 lobby visits. 

As Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17) made clear, our voices are making a tangible difference. “They’re all, I think, very mobilized voices and have had an impact,” Rep. Khanna told the New York Times about the FCNL grassroots advocacy network. “They’ve had constituents reach out to different members of Congress, they’ve organized a lot of demonstrations in districts, they’ve done a lot on social media, they’ve raised a lot of awareness.”

Just days after FCNL’s Advocacy Team from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania met with Rep. Chrissy Houlahan’s (PA-6) office in February, the congresswoman voiced support for a permanent ceasefire for the first time.

Importantly, FCNL’s network is also shifting the conversation in the media, publishing at least 72 articles or letters calling for a ceasefire in outlets across the country. One such article in the LA Times co-authored by longtime FCNL community member Jonathan Evans encapsulated the urgent need for the Biden administration to use its leverage to push for a ceasefire. 

Other advocates like FCNL’s Sacramento diaspora organizer Avinash Tiwari have found creative, inspiring ways to strengthen the movement. Avinash hosted a soccer tournament and information session for Bhutanese elders, connecting their history to the Gaza conflict while motivating his community to support a ceasefire.

Quakers and friends around the country are proving that putting faith into action can yield big results.

Quakers and friends around the country are proving that putting faith into action can yield big results. Our shared commitment to the pursuit of peace is not just a slogan, it’s a guiding principle. Today this work is more important than ever as we pursue the world we seek, free from war and the threat of war.  

We must keep taking action for a permanent ceasefire to protect every civilian, bring all the Israeli hostages and Palestinian political prisoners home, and support lasting peace for everyone in the region.

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.