CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad read the statement during a news conference, which aired live on C-SPAN, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
In his prepared remarks, Awad wrote:
"We demand that our government take immediate steps to end the immoral and illegal Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which has already resulted in more than 300 deaths, including many women and children.
SEE: Father Mourns Loss of Five Children in Gaza Strike
"We also demand that the Bush administration join with the international community in seeking to end the collective punishment imposed on the civilian population of Gaza by Israel's ongoing blockade of humanitarian aid. We call for a resumption of the cease-fire that, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, was 'unilaterally violated when [Israel] blew up a tunnel.'
SEE: Delusions of Victory in Gaza
"Failure to take strong steps to end the Israeli attacks and restore the cease-fire will only damage efforts to bring peace with justice to the Middle East, harm our nation's image and interests worldwide and strengthen voices of extremism in the region.
"To end this cycle of violence, the incoming Obama administration should adopt a more even-handed Middle East policy that is in our nation's, not Israel's interest alone.
"To deal with the core issue of peace with justice, the Palestinian people must be given some hope of freedom from Israeli occupation and domination and America must support a just and comprehensive resolution to the conflict that takes into account the rights and responsibilities of all parties."
CAIR issued an "action alert" to the American Islamic community asking Muslims and other people of conscience to contact their elected representatives and urge them to condemn Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.
SEE: Urge Congress, President to Stop Israeli 'Massacre' in Gaza
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.