Hollywood stars urge Biden to push for ceasefire in Israel-Hamas war

Celebrities including Joaquin Phoenix, Cate Blanchett and Susan Sarandon urge US president to push for halt in fighting.

Dozens of Hollywood celebrities, including Jessica Chastain and Joaquin Phoenix have called on US President Joe Biden to push for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war [File: Alastair Grant/AP

Hollywood A-listers including Joaquin Phoenix, Cate Blanchett and Susan Sarandon have urged US President Joe Biden to call for a ceasefire in Israel’s war with Hamas.

In a letter released on Friday, dozens of entertainment figures called on Biden to facilitate an end to the bombing of Gaza and the release of all captives held by Hamas.

“We ask that, as President of the United States, you call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost,” the celebrities wrote in the letter organised by artists4ceasefire.org.

“More than 5,000 people have been killed in the last week and a half – a number any person of conscience knows is catastrophic. We believe all life is sacred, no matter faith or ethnicity and we condemn the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians.”

“We urge your administration, and all world leaders, to honour all of the lives in the Holy Land and call for and facilitate a ceasefire without delay – an end to the bombing of Gaza, and the safe release of hostages,” the letter added.

“Saving lives is a moral imperative.”

The more than 70 signatories include Jessica Chastain, Kristen Stewart, Jeremy Strong, Mark Ruffalo, and Quinta Brunson, among others.

Israel pledged to eradicate Hamas after the armed group carried out the deadliest attacks on the country in decades, and has bombarded Gaza with air strikes ahead of an expected ground offensive.

Israeli strikes on the enclave have so far killed at least 4,130 people, according to Palestinian officials.

More than 1,400 people were killed and about 200 people taken captive in Hamas’s multi-pronged attacks inside Israel on October 7, according to Israeli officials.

Biden has backed Israel in its war against Hamas, while pressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza and minimise civilian casualties.

Oxfam and United Nations agencies have warned that Gaza is facing a humanitarian catastrophe amid a growing risk of cholera and other deadly infectious diseases due to the collapse of water and sanitation services.

Israel cut water, fuel and electricity to Gaza after announcing a total blockade of the Palestinian enclave.

On Friday, Biden said the first trucks carrying aid to Gaza from Egypt would arrive in the next 24 to 48 hours after he earlier reached a deal with Netanyahu to allow food, water and medical supplies into the enclave.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies