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Activists begin hunger strike outside White House demanding permanent ceasefire in Gaza

Cynthia Nixon (C), joined by state legislators and activists, demand a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip outside the White House in Washington DC on November 27, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Activists have begun a hunger strike outside the White House demanding a permanent ceasefire in the besieged Gaza Strip, as the current truce in the war-torn Palestinian enclave has already been extended for a brief period. 

The left-wing activists, including actress Cynthia Nixon, said they launched their five-day hunger strike on Monday to “showcase the actions of [American] President [Joe] Biden” and to pressure him into demanding a permanent ceasefire in the war-ravaged coastal sliver.

The four-day Qatari-brokered ceasefire between Tel Aviv and Hamas went into effect on Friday and was extended for two more days on Monday following mediation from Egypt and Qatar.

Over the initial four-day pause, 50 Israeli hostages were freed in return for 150 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

A news conference was held at the protest rally in front of the White House and speaker after speaker represented pro-Palestinian causes lined up to denounce Biden and his senior officials. They also lambasted the US president’s administration for enabling a brutal bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza.

“We are taking this action of hunger striking to showcase the actions of President Biden,” said Zohran Mamdani, a Democratic state representative from New York. “It’s President Biden’s actions that are leading to the bombing of Palestinians, the starving of Palestinians. So we are starving ourselves to make visible what is so often erased, which is the Palestinian experience.”

Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime's decades-long campaign of bloodletting and devastation against Palestinians.

According to the Gaza-based health ministry, over 15,000 Palestinians, including more than 6,000 children, were killed in Israeli strikes, during the 49 days of war. Many more dead are feared to be under the rubble.

Tel Aviv has also imposed a “complete siege” on Gaza, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

“I’m sick and tired of people explaining this away by saying that civilian casualties are a routine toll of war. There is nothing routine about these figures. There is nothing routine about these deaths,” Nixon, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, said, stressing, “None of this is normal.”

The hunger strike comes as multiple reports show that dissension within Biden’s administration is growing over his support for the Tel Aviv regime’s offensive in the face of increasing casualties and a humanitarian disaster in the densely populated enclave.

Many countries around the world are pressing for a permanent end to the Israeli regime’s carnage against the civilian population in Gaza.

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