Some 145 Democratic members of Congress are urging a key Republican senator to release the hold on $75 million in Palestinian aid.
The lawmakers, led by Congressman Jamie Raskin, wrote to Senator James Risch "to respectfully request that you release your hold on tens of millions of dollars in appropriated humanitarian aid that is so desperately needed to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians rebuilding their lives in the wake of the fighting between Hamas and Israel earlier this month."
"Gaza is experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe. Buildings lie in rubble. Access to clean water and electricity is sporadic or nonexistent. Food insecurity is spreading. COVID-19 is running rampant and thousands of people have been displaced and rendered homeless. The magnitude of the crisis is staggering," they wrote.
NEW: I led 140+ @HouseDemocrats in urging Sen. Jim Risch to stop blocking millions in humanitarian aid for Palestinians. This aid was passed in FY20 & signed by the former President. As the ceasefire takes hold, we must help relieve the suffering of countless civilians. pic.twitter.com/Dz2XlS0j69
— Rep. Jamie Raskin (@RepRaskin) June 2, 2021
Senator Risch is reportedly behind a hold on the $75 million in congressionally approved aid President Joe Biden wants to send to NGOs administering humanitarian assistance in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
The request comes after Israel's latest round of air strikes on the Gaza Strip last month.
They added that the assistance would be provided in full accordance with US law and administered and overseen by the US government and by vetted partners on the ground.
Signatories to the letter include by Democrat lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive representatives including Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.
"We are pleased to support Representative Raskin's effort and appreciate each of the 145 members who signed the letter. Senator Risch should immediately release his hold on this aid," said Hadar Susskind, president and CEO of Americans for Peace Now.