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

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From left: Jon Stewart, Cate Blanchett and Joaquin Phoenix

LOS ANGELES, Oct 21, (Agencies): 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 organized 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 honor 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.

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.

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