As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice goes through the charade of meeting with international leaders to discuss the crisis in the Middle East – while showing her true sentiments with a firm rejection of the “false promise” of a ceasefire – observers of the carnage might reasonably ask: Is there anyone in Washington who wants the killing to stop?

In fact, there are a few dozen brave members of Congress who have leant their names to a call for halting the violence and allowing diplomacy to replace the bombs and bullets that are ripping apart whole regions of Lebanon, Israel and Palestine.

Twenty-four members of the House of Representatives have endorsed House Continuing Resolution 450: “Calling upon the President to appeal to all sides in the current crisis in the Middle East for an immediate cessation of violence and to commit United States diplomats to multi-party negotiations with no preconditions.”

Submitted by Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich, the measure resolves that Congress:

(1) calls upon the President to–

(A) appeal to all sides in the current crisis in the Middle East for an immediate cessation of violence;

(B) commit United States diplomats to multi-party negotiations with no preconditions; and

(C) send a high-level diplomatic mission to the region to facilitate such multi-party negotiations…

The resolution also “urges such multi-party negotiations to begin as soon as possible, including delegations from the governments of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt; and supports an international peacekeeping mission to southern Lebanon to prevent cross-border skirmishes during such multi-party negotiations.”

The members of the House who have signed onto Kucinich’s resolution include:

Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii

Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin

Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri

John Conyers Jr. of Michigan

Danny Davis of Illinois

Bob Filner of California

Raul Grijalva of Arizona

Maurice Hinchey of New York

Mike Honda of California

Marcy Kaptur of Ohio

Carolyn Kilpatrick of Michigan

Barbara Lee of California

Betty McCollum of Minnesota

Jim McDermott of Washington

Gregory Meeks of New York

James Moran of Virginia

Charles Rangel of New York

Bobby Rush of Illinois

Louise Slaughter of New York

Hilda Solis of California

Pete Stark of California

Maxine Waters of California

Lynn Woolsey of California.

“Everyday this Administration sits on the sidelines the chance for a peaceful resolution becomes less likely,” says Kucinich. “Every day this Administration sits on the sidelines more innocent civilians on all sides are dying. Every day this Administration sits on the sidelines America’s already poor reputation in the world community gets worse.”

Kucinich is right. But is it not also true that every day members of Congress sit on the sidelines – refusing to pressure the Bush administration to get serious about a ceasefire — they too make the chance for a peaceful resolution less likely.

Two dozen members of Congress are doing something. What about the other 411 representatives? What about the 100 senators?

Peace Action is urging Americans to contact their Congressional representatives to: Demand that they do everything in their power to effect an immediate ceasefire in the current hostilities in the Middle East. For more information, visit their website at www.peaceaction.org

Progressive Democrats of America has launched a campaign to get members of the House to cosponsor the Kucinich resolution. For more information, visit their website at: www.pdamerica.org

Says PDA Executive Director Tim Carpenter: “It is unacceptable to stand and watch as the violence escalates.”

It’s more than just unfortunate – it is tragedy writ large — that Condoleezza Rice does not share this sentiment.