9 US House Democrats urge Trump to unfreeze $65 million in aid to Gaza

Nine US House Democrats called on the Trump administration to unblock $65 million in US aid to Gaza Strip.

By: World Israel News Staff 

Nine US House Democrats called for “the release of all assistance that has been on hold” to the Palestinians in a letter to US President Donald Trump.

The Democrats articulated their concern that American aid to the Palestinians, including humanitarian support for Palestinians in the form of education and health aid, has been frozen.

They made their concerns known at a US House Foreign Affairs Middle East Subcommittee.

Ambassador David Satterfield, provided testimony on the matter as acting assistant secretary of state to the effect that the National Security Council has been so far unable to ascertain how precisely the funds being allocated to the Palestinians are being utilized or is unwilling to share this information.

State Department officials have been no more forthcoming in providing details on the fate of the aid to the Palestinians according to the nine Democrats.

The need to review the aid so that money does not wind up going to unintended purposes was accepted by the nine Democrats, who allowed that funds were not being used for their intended purposr “or even worse, inadvertently benefiting the terrorist organization Hamas,” which rules the Gaza Strip.

“It is unnecessary to withhold funding while conducting this review,” argued the nine Democrats.

Supporters of the Trump administration’s policy argue that since Hamas controls Gaza, it is impossible to separate the humanitarian aid from the wider question of using foreign assistance to buttress a terrorist regime.

Hamas uses funding to finance terror

Reports have also shown that members of Hamas are employed by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides Gazans with humanitarian, educational and medical aid. There have been concerns that funds earmarks for these purpposes are in reality being used to finance terror.

As an organization that views the Palestinians living in Gaza and other locations that are slated to become a future Palestinian state as homeless, UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the idea that Gazans are refugees and have a rightful claim to territory inside the Green Line or the 1949 Armistice Line.

The Democrats recognized Hamas’s responsibility for the crisis in Gaza, writing, “Hamas’s failure to provide for the most basic needs while directing significant resources to acts of terrorism has only exacerbated the emergency.”

However, they also urged Trump to renew the issue of US humanitarian aid, particularly the $65 million withheld from UNRWA.

“The impact of the US funding freeze could be catastrophic,” they wrote, noting that the 120,000 Palestinians in Gaza rely on emergency assistance, 42,000 receive medical aid, 50,000 youths lack access to life skills development and 12,225 will lose paid entrepreneurship opportunities.”

Signatories included Florida Rep. Ted Deutch, New York Rep. Eliot Engel, Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly, Florida Rep. Lois Frankel, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, California Rep. Ted Lieu and Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider.