A group of Senators has sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging the administration to supply Gaza and the West Bank with much-needed humanitarian aid. There are already are at least 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the West Bank and multiple individuals have tested positive for the virus in Gaza. Gaza has been under siege for years and the densely populated area is bracing for a potentially catastrophic situation. Trump has frozen nearly all aid to Palestine since January 2018.
“Given the spread of the coronavirus in the West Bank and Gaza, the extreme vulnerability of the health system in Gaza, and the continued withholding of U.S. aid to the Palestinian people, we are concerned that the Administration is failing to take every reasonable step to help combat this public health emergency in the Palestinian Territories,” reads the letter. It was lead by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), but was also signed by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
“This is what leadership looks like,” tweeted Progress Up Consulting Senior Principal Josh Ruebner, “Senator Warren and 7 of her colleagues demand answers from Trump on what he is doing to restore US humanitarian aid to Palestinians to help them cope with COVID-19 under Israeli occupation and blockade.”
This is what leadership looks like. @SenWarren and 7 of her colleagues demand answers from #Trump on what he is doing to restore US humanitarian aid to Palestinians to help them cope with #COVID19 under Israeli occupation and blockade. ??? pic.twitter.com/hYnDmiVQGy
— Josh Ruebner (@joshruebner) March 27, 2020
This week the progressive, Jewish organization IfNotNow announced that over 10,000 people had signed their petition demanding that Israel lift its blockade on Gaza in response to the crisis. “Palestinians in Gaza must now weather the Coronavirus in addition to the punishing, 15-year-long Israeli blockade of the coastal enclave,” said the group in a press release on the petition, “The international community must do everything it can to protect everyone in the world from this pandemic — and this must include the stateless Palestinians in Gaza, whose lives are controlled by the Israeli military. If there was ever a moment to realize that we are in this fight together, it is now.”
That's over 10,000 people who understand that Israel's blockade on Gaza *is* the public health crisis. pic.twitter.com/tHwSz9MgZG
— IfNotNow? (@IfNotNowOrg) March 26, 2020
The group of Senators is requesting a response to their letter no later than April 6 and they’re asking for a detailed account of how the Trump administration is planning to assist the Palestinian people during this time.