The invasion of Rafah must be stopped

Layne Mullett
Director of Media Relations


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WASHINGTON, DC (May 6, 2024) Today, Israel dropped leaflets in Gaza telling Palestinians sheltering in Eastern Rafah to flee because an invasion of Rafah is imminent. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker organization with staff in Gaza – is calling for the U.S. and the rest of the international community to take immediate steps to halt an invasion of Rafah.  

Nearly 1.4 million Palestinians, over half of Gaza’s population, are now sheltering in Rafah and all humanitarian aid providers are based there, including AFSC staff. UNICEF has reported that almost all of the 600,000 children in Rafah are sick, injured, malnourished or traumatized. The areas where Israel is telling people to evacuate to are destroyed and have no water or other infrastructure necessary for survival. More than 35,000 Palestinians have already been killed by the Israeli military.

“The Biden administration has spoken against the invasion of Rafah but continues to send billions of dollars in weapons to Israel for its genocidal campaign,” said Mike Merryman-Lotze, Just Peace Global Policy Director for AFSC. “Any invasion will only bring countless more deaths and exacerbates the risks of famine that is already high because Israel continues to block most humanitarian aid from entering Gaza. President Biden and all elected officials must act now to stop this invasion, demand a permanent and complete ceasefire, and end all arms transfers to Israel.” 

Millions of people in the U.S. and around the world have been demanding a cease-fire for months, and that pressure is only intensifying. Last week 57 members of Congress, led by Rep. Jayapal and Rep. Dean, issued a letter opposing any invasion of Rafah and calling on the U.S. to withhold the transfer of any offensive weaponry to Israel if an invasion moves forward.  

AFSC is calling on both the Biden administration and Congress to: 

  1. Demand a permanent and complete ceasefire. 
  2. End all arms transfers to Israel and enforce an arms embargo. 
  3. Push for full and unimpeded humanitarian access to all parts of Gaza. 
  4. Demand accountability for war crimes and violations of international law. 

The American Friends Service Committee has been supporting humanitarian efforts in Gaza since 1948 and currently has staff in Gaza, Ramallah, and Jerusalem, as well as in Jordan. AFSC staff in Gaza have been serving food, water and hygiene kits to displaced people living outside of shelters across the Gaza Strip, and have also been hosting activities for children and teens. Since October, the AFSC team in Gaza has provided humanitarian aid to more than 552,471 people.


The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) promotes a world free of violence, inequality, and oppression. Guided by the Quaker belief in the divine light within each person, we nurture the seeds of change and the respect for human life to fundamentally transform our societies and institutions. We work with people and partners worldwide, of all faiths and backgrounds, to meet urgent community needs, challenge injustice, and build peace.