70 US Democrats urge Trump to renew aid to Hamas-controlled Gaza

In a letter to the White House, a group of 70 US House Democrats urged the Trump administration to renew aid to the Gaza Strip in order to prevent a humanitarian crisis. 

By: World Israel News Staff

In a letter to the White House Monday, organized by the left-wing Middle East advocacy group J Street, a group of 70 US House Democrats urged the Trump administration to renew aid to Gaza.

It argued that the White House’s cuts to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) was exacerbating an already-deteriorating situation that poses long-term security risks to Israel.

The Democrats said that failure to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the Strip could hurt Israel’s security.

The letter, addressed to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, argued that Washington’s cuts to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) would exacerbate an already-deteriorating situation that poses long-term security risks to Israel.

“We urge you to immediately restore funding for humanitarian aid in Gaza because it plays a critical role in the larger US strategy to secure peace and stability in the region,” the letter stated.

The Democrats admitted that US aid was not the only factor in improving the situation in Gaza.

Quoting from a similar letter organized by Senator Bernie Sanders in May, the Democrats wrote, “There is much blame to go around for the horrific conditions in Gaza.

“Hamas — due to its ongoing repression, corruption and insistence on pursuing a violent struggle against Israel — bears significant responsibility for the deteriorating situation,” the letter acknowledged.

However, it continued, “While Israel withdrew its forces from within Gaza in 2005. its continuing control of Gaza’s air, sea, and northern, southern, and eastern borders, and its restrictions on the freedom of movement of people, legitimate goods and equipment in and out of Gaza have made the humanitarian situation worse.

“Egypt and the Palestinian Authority must also play a more constructive role,” the Democrats demanded.

In January, Washington announced it would withhold $65 million in assistance to the UN relief agency for Palestinians.

The move came after the Palestinians cut off diplomatic ties with the US over US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there.

“We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect,” Trump tweeted on January 3.