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To: American Academy of Pediatrics

To the American Academy of Pediatrics: Call for a Ceasefire in Gaza. Now.

Dear Leaders of the American Academy of Pediatrics,

We hope this message finds you well. We are practicing pediatricians, pediatric advanced care providers, trainees, and healthcare students deeply concerned about the plight of children from the Israeli-Hamas conflict. We would like to acknowledge that this is a resolution that touches on topics that have become divisive, especially given the religious and cultural sentiments that are connected with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, our concern is specifically the children whose lives are being impacted. 

We would like to focus on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza currently. Tens of thousands of children have been killed in attacks on schools, refugee camps, and hospitals within Gaza. Children are facing record malnutrition and starvation rates, largely due to a military blockade of land and sea crossings that would otherwise be delivering aid to besieged populations. At least 17,000 children have been separated or unaccompanied from their families. It is important to acknowledge the significant civilian death toll that resulted in the October 7 attack in Southern Israel, including those of 36 children. 40 child hostages were also taken. Children throughout the world are impacted by violence in this conflict. Specifically, rates of Islamophobia, Anti-Arab Racism, and Anti-Semitism have skyrocketed. 

Violence, inevitably, leads to more violence. This includes the Israeli military, which is threatening to invade the only supposed safe zone inside Gaza, as well as extremist groups such as Hamas, who have been also continuing to attack Israel, including civilian areas. Israel-Iran tensions escalated to an extent where attacks on both countries are threatening civilians, and have the potential to lead to a wider regional, even global, conflict. This makes it necessary for the AAP to support calls for an immediate, permanent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. 

The only way for children, both in Israel and Palestine, to be protected is for the violence to end. Peace will lead to solutions where everyone has a right to a home, freedom of movement, and the ability to practice their faiths freely. Without peace, however, these discussions and agreements cannot occur. We ask you to listen to our voices, and more importantly, the voices of children asking for peace and freedom from violence. A ceasefire and end to violence is what will accomplish this.

Why is this important?

Many members, in recent months, have repeatedly raised concerns and resolutions to leadership and specific pediatric sections. However, we often meet significant resistance and are told calling for a ceasefire is too divisive of a statement to make. Humanitarian groups and international organizations have consistently pushed for Israel to make stronger efforts to increase humanitarian assistance and prevent civilian casualties, as well as call for a ceasefire, but there is instead more targeting of civilians and humanitarian aid workers. 

The International Court of Justice has pushed for Israel to take actions to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza. There has been, to date, little-to-no adherence to this ruling. Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza, was completely destroyed after an Israeli military operation. Humanitarian aid workers, of any nationality, are also not protected: 7 individuals from the World Central Kitchen were killed in an Israeli attack on their convoy after coordinating their movements with the Israeli military. The purported last safe place in Gaza, Rafah, is already being invaded by Israeli forces, killing dozens of civilians, including children, despite American and international warnings to halt the Israeli offensive in the enclave.

The Academy has already released statements asking the United States government to consider the unique needs of Gazan children in conflict, and to refrain from putting children at risk of death. While commendable, we believe these aims will only be achieved by a permanent end to the ongoing violence. 

We also note that in 2022, in the face of similar violence in the Ukraine, the Academy called for members to donate to UNICEF to care for Ukrainian children in the face of the Russian invasion, a push that has not occurred for the children affected by the Israel-Hamas war. The starvation rates that affect children in Gaza, has reached a catastrophic point, with 1.1 million civilians at risk of imminent famine. If war and siege continue, deaths will occur at an even more frequent rate. Our concern, as that of many members of the Academy, should be that of children who are at imminent risk of dying because of war. 


2024-05-29 23:34:41 -0400

100 signatures reached

2024-05-29 21:00:21 -0400

50 signatures reached

2024-05-29 19:52:45 -0400

25 signatures reached

2024-05-29 18:59:58 -0400

10 signatures reached