July 30, 2018
Contact: Ron Boehmer 202-225-2906

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Barbara Lee (CA-13), and John Yarmuth (KY-03) today led 70 House Democrats in writing to Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State, and John Bolton, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, calling on the Trump Administration to immediately take action and reinstate U.S. funding to alleviate the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The lack of adequate medical care, clean water, reliable electricity, and other necessities has created a complex humanitarian and security crisis.

“In Gaza, more than 50 percent of the children live beneath the poverty level, living on $1.74 US dollars per day. A report from the UN noted that 95 percent of tap water is not safe to drink, and last year warned that the Gaza Strip could become “unlivable” well before 2020,” Members wrote in the letter. “The cut to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) will unnecessarily exacerbate the humanitarian and security issues in this region. As strong supporters of the United States’ commitment to the safety and dignity of Palestinians and Israelis, we urge you to restore the vital contributions the U.S. makes to UNRWA and release appropriated USAID funding for humanitarian programs.”

“We believe the U.S. should encourage all parties to increase access to electricity flow into Gaza to meet the critical need for reliable energy. We should also push our partners to ease the blockade on the movement of goods, equipment and people in and out of the territory, especially for materials and supplies related to critical projects like medicine, hospital supplies and water treatment,” continued the Members. “Alleviating the poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, and lack of access to adequate, health, clean water, and electricity in Gaza is a critical first step to improving the security and safety of both Palestinians and Israelis.”

“We all recognize the serious security and political challenges in Gaza. However, U.S. support for the basic human rights of Palestinians living in Gaza must not be conditioned on progress on those fronts. For this reason, we strongly urge you to immediately restore all U.S. funding for humanitarian aid in Gaza, including all USAID funding under policy review by the State Department,” concluded the Members.

The full letter is available here.

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