February 09, 2024

Van Hollen Joins Welch in Calling for Delivery of Urgently Needed Humanitarian Aid to Civilians in Gaza

Resolution calls on Administration to Work with Allies and Partners to Streamline and Increase Access to Aid for Gaza to Prevent Further Spread of Disease and Starvation

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) alongside their colleagues in introducing a resolution calling on the Administration to work with allies and partners within the international community to dramatically increase humanitarian aid to Gaza in order to prevent further spread of disease and starvation. Senator Welch was joined by Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Angus King (I-Maine).   

“As we saw firsthand in Rafah, the process for getting desperately needed aid to innocent civilians in Gaza is totally broken and the humanitarian catastrophe is only getting worse. Aid organizations face persistent challenges such as cumbersome checkpoint inspections and arbitrary rejections of basic essential health supplies. The United States must play a more active role in pushing for this broken system to be fixed in order to support the vital humanitarian response in Gaza,” said Senator Van Hollen. 

“The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a catastrophe – thousands of civilians are dying, millions are at risk of disease and starvation, and the young, elderly, and most vulnerable are displaced, living without shelter. We have an obligation to work with our international partners to streamline access to aid and deliver the food, clean water, fuel, and medical support Gazans urgently need right now. We must also ensure that the humanitarian organizations working on the ground can do their lifesaving work safely and without obstruction,” said Senator Welch

“The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is getting worse every day. Hospitals are running out of fuel and supplies, food insecurity is growing, and many civilians do not have access to clean drinking water and other basic services,” said Senator Kaine. “That’s why I’m joining my colleagues to reiterate the need for the U.S. to work with our international partners to facilitate the swift delivery of lifesaving humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.”  

“There must be a massive increase in humanitarian aid to Gaza immediately,” said Senator Merkley. “The U.S. should directly deliver food, medicine and other life-saving aid to Palestinian civilians NOW.” 

“The images of loss and suffering in Gaza are devastating, and it is clear that the current level of humanitarian aid is insufficient to meet the scale of the crisis on the ground,” said Senator Booker. “The Biden Administration must work with our allies and partners in the region to dramatically increase humanitarian aid flow, including lifesaving medical care, food, clean water, and fuel. I will continue to work with my Senate colleagues, the Administration, and our international allies and partners to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” 

“The United States must work with our partners to expedite the delivery of aid to Gaza and limit civilian casualties. Degrading Hamas’s military capabilities and protecting Palestinian civilian lives are not mutually exclusive aims,” said Senator Bennet.  

 “The situation is Gaza is dire. Innocent civilians are in desperate need of medical care and many are facing starvation and disease. The Netanyahu government must end the collective punishment,” said Senator Murray. “What we’re seeing is a humanitarian crisis on a massive scale and it is absolutely critical that the Biden Administration keep working around the clock, doing everything humanly possible to get a major influx of humanitarian aid into Gaza. I’m glad to join my colleagues in this important resolution and am working hard to get a supplemental funding package with humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza across the finish line.” 

“As a pastor who believes every human being is sacred, I’m gravely concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “I’ve been focused for months on making sure there is complete, rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian assistance for civilians. I’m proud to join this resolution and I’ll continue to look for opportunities to increase aid, minimize civilian casualties, and pave the way towards a two-state solution.” 

“The continued and growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza demands a significant increase in the levels of aid and assistance that are able to reach the Palestinian people. Alongside supporting the ongoing efforts to bring about a cessation to the hostilities and a release of the hostages, it is vital that the U.S. works with allies and partners to enable a response that meets these dire needs,” said Senator Warner

“The scale of human suffering in Gaza is horrific and more humanitarian aid is urgently needed to support civilians,” said Senator Schatz. “The United States needs to do everything we can to work with our allies and partners and make sure aid reaches people who desperately need it.” 

The United States is the largest single-state funder of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people. The White House, State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, and partners have worked to increase access for aid delivery to alleviate the humanitarian crisis, but far more work needs to be done.  

The resolution introduced today calls on the Administration, on an urgent basis, and working with allies and partners within the international community, to help facilitate the humanitarian aid needed to prevent starvation and disease in Gaza by: 

  • Streamlining the inspection of trucks entering Gaza 
  • Increasing the access points for aid deliveries into Gaza 
  • Ensuring the distribution of adequate fuel to hospitals and humanitarian organizations in Gaza 
  • Ensuring the ability of humanitarian organizations to deliver aid safely and urgently in Gaza 
  • Expanding the number of safe shelters and food distribution locations for displaced people in Gaza 
  • Supporting efforts to restore water supply lines; and 
  • Working to secure the additional funding necessary to support the humanitarian response. 

The resolution is supported by CARE, Catholic Relief Services, J Street, Church World Service, Mennonite Central Committee, Project HOPE, Mercy Corps, and ANERA. 

Full text of the resolution can be found here