May 15, 2018

Senators Call for Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza to be Addressed

Following weeks of violence in Gaza, during which roughly 100 Palestinians have been killed and some 10,000 wounded by Israeli snipers, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and 10 of their Democratic Senate colleagues called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to "do more to alleviate the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip."
"The territory’s lack of power, clean water, adequate medical care and other necessities not only exacerbates the hardships faced by Gaza’s population, but redounds to the benefit of extremist groups who use this deprivation and despair to incite violence against Israel," the senators wrote in a letter to Pompeo last Friday.
"The political and security challenges in Gaza are formidable, but support for the basic human rights of its people must not be conditioned on progress on those fronts. For the sake of Israelis and Palestinians alike, the United States must act urgently to help relieve the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. We stand ready to work with you on this important matter."
The senators suggested that the United States restore its funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), encourage the easing of restrictions on the movement of people, goods and equipment in and out of the territory, and support proposals to build Gaza’s economy through bold initiatives such as the proposed Gaza Seaport.
In addition to Van Hollen, Feinstein, and Sanders, the letter was signed by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Thomas Carper (D-Del.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio),  Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.).
To read the letter, click here.