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, during a meeting of the US House Foreign Affairs Middle East Subcommittee, expressed their concern that since January, “US assistance, including lifesaving humanitarian aid” to Palestinians, has been frozen.

Ambassador David Satterfield, testifying in his capacity as acting assistant secretary of state, said that the US National Security Council is leading an inter-agency review of US aid to the Palestinians but did not provide any significant information.

The Democrats said that other State Department officials have been no more forthcoming in providing details on the fate of the aid to the Palestinians.

The Democrats conceded, however, that they understood the need to review the aid so that money does not wind up going to unintended purposes, “or even worse, inadvertently benefiting the terrorist organization Hamas,” which rules the Gaza Strip.

But, they insisted, “it is unnecessary to withhold funding while conducting this review.”

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 Hamas has completely infiltrated UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides Gazans with humanitarian, educational and medical aid, and uses funds designated for humanitarian aid to finance terror.

UNRWA is also 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.