J Street welcomes a new letter led by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chris Coons (D-DE) and signed by over one third of the US Senate, which demonstrates significant opposition to the Trump administration’s disastrous moves to cut off virtually all US humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
In the letter, 34 Senators make clear that the administration’s decision to “redirect” over $200 million in Congressionally-allocated funding to Palestinian civilians will dramatically worsen the existing humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the difficult situation in the West Bank. They also outline the devastating impact on the basic nutrition, health and education needs of hundreds of thousands of children and other civilians that could result from the decision to cut all US funding for the Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA.
By exacerbating the humanitarian nightmare in Gaza, these cuts promote instability and increase the security threat to Israelis. Echoing the concerns of Israeli security officials, the Senators state: “We are deeply concerned that your strategy of attempting to force the Palestinian Authority to the negotiating table by withholding humanitarian assistance from women and children is destined to backfire. Your proposed cuts would undermine those who seek a peaceful resolution and strengthen the hands of Hamas and other extremists in the Gaza Strip, as the humanitarian crisis there worsens.”
While the Trump administration continues to undermine prospects for a two-state solution and promote the agenda of the Israeli far right, we welcome this letter as a clear signal that Congress does not support the president’s extreme policies towards Israel and the Palestinians — and that his destructive actions can and must eventually be reversed.