July 3, 2024

What’s Happening

On June 27, 269 members of Congress—including at least 23 representatives from California—voted in favor of an amendment that would bar the State Department from using the Gaza Health Ministry’s data on the death toll in Gaza.

Introduced as part of the State Department’s annual appropriations bill, the amendment prohibits funds from the international affairs budget from being “made available for the Department of State to cite statistics obtained from the Gaza Health Ministry.”

Who Voted Yes

The following Congress members from California voted in support of the amendment:

Rep. Ken Calvert (R)Rep. Kevin Kiley (R)Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D)
Rep. Lou Correa (D)Rep. Young Kim (R)Rep. Adam Schiff (D)
Rep. Jim Costa (D)Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R)Rep. Michelle Steel (R)
Rep. John Duarte (R)Rep. Mike Levin (D)Rep. Eric Swalwell (D)
Rep. Vince Fong (R)Rep. Ted Lieu (D)Rep. Norma Torres (D)
Rep. Mike Garcia (R)Rep. Tom McClintock (R)Rep. David Valadao (R)
Rep. Josh Harder (D)Rep. Brad Sherman (D)Rep. Juan Vargas (D)
Rep. Darrell Issa (R)Rep. Jay Obernolte (R)

Why It Matters

Since Oct. 7, the Gaza Health Ministry has been the only official source of death counts coming out of Gaza. The Health Ministry has released a report listing every Palestinian who has been killed in Israel’s genocide in Gaza, including their names, ID numbers, ages, and gender.

Several international bodies, including the World Health Organization and the U.N., have verified the credibility of the Gaza Health Ministry’s data on the number of Palestinian civilians who have been killed by Israeli military forces.

In the past nine months, Israel’s ongoing violent military operations have killed nearly 38,000 Palestinian civilians, the majority of whom are women and children. However, Gaza’s Health Ministry believes that thousands more people have not yet been recovered from under the rubble, likely making the true death toll much higher.

This amendment would enable the U.S. to downplay the true death toll numbers and further become complicit in Israel’s genocide and ethnic cleansing in Gaza.

“It is shameful that 23 California Representatives voted to support this amendment that prioritizes complicity over truth and transparency regarding the ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing in Gaza. The Gaza Health Ministry’s data on the death toll has been vital in revealing the full extent of the violence inflicted on Palestinians in Gaza by Israel’s ongoing genocidal military operations.

“By voting in favor, these California Representatives have effectively endorsed the suppression of the true extent of suffering in Gaza and perpetuated a dangerous narrative that enables further atrocities.”

– CAIR-CA Justice Reinvestment, Associate Manager Leena Sabagh