Group of Washington state faith and community leaders call for cease-fire in Israel-Hamas war


A group of Washington state faith leaders, elected officials and community advocates released a solidarity statement Monday calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, condemning the escalating violence and "all targeting and killing of civilians" in the region.

The Washington Solidarity Statement was a joint collaboration by local Jews, Muslims and Christians, organizers said, a reflection of multifaith communities coming together for peace and justice.

In the statement, signers say they are outraged by the kidnappings and killings of Israeli civilians during the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, as well as the killings and displacement of Palestinians in Gaza since then "as collective punishment."

Representing people of "all faith backgrounds and conscience" who deeply value life and are appalled by the scores of deaths, organizers behind the statement aim to amplify a unified message: "We must prevent more devastation."

"When the majority of Congress and institutional leaders fail in making basic moral, human calls, it is up to us — the people — to create multifaith, multiracial, multi-ethnic, and multi-generational movements to call for peace and justice," said local attorney and activist Aneelah Afzali, who helped draft the call to action, in a statement.

Hundreds of people and dozens of organizations have signed the statement so far, organizers said. The full list of signers will be released Thursday ahead of a news conference and multifaith gathering, organizers said.

Among the expected attendees Thursday are state Sen. Yasmin Trudeau, Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, Bothell Mayor Mason Thompson, Bothell Deputy Mayor Rami Al-Kabra, and faith leaders of multiple religious traditions, according to organizers.

"Regardless of background, we should be united in making these moral calls — which are the bare minimum," said Al-Kabra, the only Palestinian elected official in Washington state and one of the signatories, in a statement. "I hope our members of Congress will listen, and take action to stop the violence and bloodshed."

"Both the Talmud and the Quran recognize that killing one life is like killing all of humanity, and saving one life is like saving all of humanity (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5; Quran 5:32)," the solidarity statement read.

"Our hearts grieve for the loss of humanity right now, and we will strive — through the world's brokenness — to find hope, and save all of humanity by saving even one life."

Calling for an immediate cease-fire, the signers also demand the safe return of the hostages captured by Hamas and the safe return of Palestinians displaced from their homes.

The statement calls for a stop "to the acts of war by the Israeli military that violate international law," an allegation the United Nations and international groups such as Amnesty International have raised and which Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu denies. Signers also call for the opening of humanitarian aid corridors so Gaza residents can access basic necessities such as food, water, electricity and medical services.

Notably, the statement calls for "an end to the decades-long military occupation" of Palestinian territory, arguing that safety, security and freedom for all people in the region will not exist until such time. The United Nations and most of the international community consider Israeli settlements and the strict blockade imposed on Gaza illegal, which Israeli officials dispute.

In its deadly attack on Israeli military bases and border cities, Hamas, the group that controls the Gaza Strip, killed about 1,200 people and kidnapped more than 240 hostages, according to the latest figures from the Israeli government.

Since then, Israel has besieged the narrow enclave with intense waves of bombardments, killing  as of Monday as airstrikes destroy apartments, schools and hospitals. A number of international humanitarian agencies, including the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund have described the situation in Gaza as "catastrophic."

Here in the Seattle region, residents with family in Israel and Palestinian territories have been transfixed by the horror of the last month, experiencing waves of grief, fear and uncertainty.

"The indiscriminate killing of human life, the continued occupation of land, and the displacement of people stand in the way of a world where justice is realized," said Tara Miller and Joey Lopez, co-executive directors of the Church Council of Greater Seattle who helped organize the letter, in a statement. "We call our elected officials to act now — we refuse to be complicit."

The solidarity statement also condemns the rise in antisemitism, islamophobia, xenophobia, and anti-Arab bigotry and violence, noting the stabbing that killed 6-year-old Palestinian American Wadea Al-Fayoume in Illinois. Across Washington state, Jewish, Muslim and Arab community groups have noted a sharp increase in bias incidents and harassment since Oct. 7.

Signatories "reject efforts to add further fuel to the fire of violence and vengeance through reactionary rhetoric or revenge-seeking actions."

"We wanted to choose the side of shared humanity, peace and justice, rather than reinforce the binaries and polarization that threaten our collective safety," said letter signer Diana Dvora Falchuk of King County Jews Against Antisemitism in a statement.

"We look forward to the day when our beloved Israeli and Palestinian children alike will be able to celebrate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness together," the solidarity statement read.

Other individuals who helped organize and write the Washington Solidarity Statement include Jewish Israeli legal scholar of human rights and University of Washington lecturer Dr. Smadar Ben-Natan, immigrant rights community organizer and social justice activist Mubarak El-amin and Jewish organizer and racial equity trainer Dana Barnett.

Some who were involved in drafting and collecting signatures for the statement have not disclosed their names because of fear of retaliation, organizers said.

To read the full statement, visit Organizers said they are collecting signatures of individuals and organizations for the initial release of signatures through Wednesday at 5 p.m.