December 1, 2023
Dear President Biden, Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Speaker Johnson and Leader Jeffries,
We, the undersigned organizations, humanitarians, and doctors, are profoundly anguished over the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and its catastrophic impact on the civilian population of Gaza.
As members of the medical and humanitarian communities, we need your leadership as we work toward saving lives, lessening suffering, and healing the wounds of this war.
In the wake of the November 22, 2023 ceasefire, now is the time to push all relevant parties to build on this progress and prevent further loss of civilian lives. We call on you to take a historic stand to help bring this conflict to a close and to work toward ten urgent objectives:
1. Immediate and ongoing extension to humanitarian ceasefire and further corresponding release of all hostages. These are the next steps to halting further loss of life and allowing critical medical aid and resources to flow into Gaza.
2. Unhindered humanitarian aid. Daily aid entry at levels recommended by the UN to address the needs of over 2.3 million civilians.
3. Open all border crossings for aid distribution. Rafah crossing alone is insufficient to meet demand; Kerem Shalom and Erez should also be opened.
4. Expanded aid access through Rafah border crossing. Increase capacity and access of this primary aid route in coordination with the Egyptian authorities.
5. Aid to all civilians including hundreds of thousands in North Gaza and Gaza City. Aid must be available to those across the Gaza Strip, not only those in the South. Many civilians are unable to evacuate and should not be penalized for remaining in their homes.
6. Allowing evacuated Gazans to return to North Gaza and Gaza City. Civilians who evacuated or were internally displaced by the conflict should be allowed to return to their homes in the north as soon as possible, and their right to do so should be affirmed.
7. Conduct a comprehensive needs assessment. The international community needs an accurate and thorough understanding of the resources needed to facilitate the recovery of Gaza’s people and infrastructure.
8. Protection of civilians and medical personnel and facilities. Strict respect for medical neutrality, international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions must be observed.
9. Adequate humanitarian aid package. The United States should approve $13.5 billion in aid for Gazans and the West Bank, in conjunction with ongoing aid to Israel.
10. Discourage all parties from placing preconditions on any of these points, and work in good faith toward their achievement.
We will continue to do our part to alleviate the suffering of Gaza’s civilians. Only your actions and advocacy have the power to bring about the changes needed to bring that suffering to an end.
Mohamed Zaher Sahloul, MD
President, MedGlobal, Inc.
This letter is co-signed by 1,365 physicians and healthcare workers.