As the death toll from Israel’s war in Gaza reaches well into the thousands, IPS Middle East expert Phyllis Bennis appeared on Al Jazeera to urge “an immediate ceasefire to stop this extraordinary killing.”

In particular, she expressed hope that a new congressional resolution calling on the Biden administration to support a ceasefire and “send and facilitate humanitarian aid” would gain traction. 

“Right now, that’s what’s so desperately needed,” Phyllis said.

Israel’s attacks on Gaza came in response to a terrorist attack that killed over a thousand Israeli civilians. Those “horrific attacks” were “complete violations of international law, and the condemnations have been completely appropriate.”


But when it comes to stopping the bloodshed, Phyllis explained, people can “hold that horror and hold that condemnation” of that violence while “recognizing what gives rise to it — in this case 16 years of a siege in Gaza, 55 years of military occupation, and 75 years of oppression of Palestinians. Depending on when you start the clock determines how you see it.”

“People are recognizing that it’s possible to both fight to prevent an even greater level of killing and destruction, potentially a genocide,” she said, “while maintaining the outrage and the grief for what has already happened.”

Phyllis added that a ceasefire was also important in the context of both rising Islamophobia and anti-semitism in the United States. She noted the recent murder of a six-year-old Palestinian child in Illinois as well as “dangerous anti-semitism coming from far-right white supremacists.”

“That is a threat that we have to be very aware of,” Phyllis concluded. “We have to fight very hard so that it doesn’t come back to haunt us.”

Middle East expert Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and serves as an international adviser for Jewish Voice for Peace.

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