J Street Welcomes Senate Letter Urging Steps to Alleviate Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

April 13, 2018

CONTACT: Jessica Rosenblum, jessica@jstreet.org, 202.448.1600

J Street welcomes a new Senate letter, now being circulated by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), calling for immediate steps by the US government to help alleviate the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The letter, addressed to the acting Secretary of State, makes clear that the terrible deprivation in Gaza, where most residents lack for power, clean water, adequate medical care and many other basic necessities constitutes a humanitarian and security disaster. It cites the concerns and recommendations of the Israeli security establishment, which has consistently warned that the humanitarian disaster in Gaza could further destabilize the border, empower Hamas and increase the likelihood of violence.

We strongly echo the letter’s recommendations that the Trump administration take several urgent steps to address this crisis. The US should immediately restore funding for the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA; encourage the easing of the blockade on the territory to allow the greater movement of people, goods and equipment; and support proposals to rebuild Gaza’s infrastructure and economy, like the construction of a new seaport. These are common sense measures that could begin to alleviate tensions and aid the nearly 2 million Gazan residents in desperate need of international support.

As the letter notes, “The political and security challenges in Gaza are formidable, but support for the basic human rights of its people must not be conditioned on progress on those fronts.” Instead of standing idly by while casualties mount and the situation worsens, the US government should be taking bold action to aid those in need — and strongly encouraging Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority to do the same.

J Street urges Senators to add their names to this deeply important message. On Tuesday, April 17th, thousands of pro-Israel, pro-peace activists will advocate on behalf of the letter at J Street’s National Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.