American activists have signed a petition urging the US administration to supply Gaza and the West Bank with much-needed humanitarian aid as the novel coronavirus threatens to overwhelm the Palestinian health system.
Since US President Donald Trump took office, America has steadily cut humanitarian and economic aid to the Palestinians. As a result the Palestinian Authority and support groups such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) have suffered severe financial crises.
Thousands of activists supporting the Palestinian cause and Palestinian organisations in the US have launched a campaign to collect 10,000 signatures to urge the American administration to reconsider its decision to stop aid to the Palestinians.
The petition also includes a request to release $75 million in humanitarian and development assistance which had previously been approved for the Palestinian people, which was withheld after Congress passed the 2020 Appropriations Act earlier this year.
America had previously been the largest donor to UNRWA, giving more than $360 million to the international body in 2017.
"The campaign aims to collect 10,000 signatures on the petition in order to move to the second phase, which has already started by working with members of Congress who support the Palestinian rights to get a legislative position," Sinan Shaqdeh, one of the campaigners, told Wafa news agency.
He added that members of Congress are also pressing for that aid to be restored and that there are contacts with US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to lead this effort.
Last week, in a letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Senators expressed deep concern over the spread of the coronavirus in the occupied territories
According to Wafa, the Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed 21 new coronavirus cases in the West Bank today, the highest in a single day since the outbreak of the disease, bringing the total in Palestine to 155.