Fifty-three House Democrats have warned of the grim humanitarian situation in Gaza in a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in which they denounced Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinians in the besieged enclave and the occupation state’s banning of essential material that is vital to ease Palestinian suffering.
“The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza is untenable,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter praised by progressive American Jewish groups. “Ensuring that Palestinians residing in Gaza receive humanitarian aid is vital to securing the well-being of Gaza’s 2.1 million residents,” the letter continued.
53 House Democrats push Biden administration to ensure Israel lets aid enter Gaza: Lawmakers urge secretary of state to press for full reopening of border crossings and work to get clear guidance on what goods and materials can be brought into Gaza https://t.co/lc6N6Hd6aU Haaretz pic.twitter.com/dOqeKHhWl9
— Jewish Community (@JComm_NewsFeeds) August 19, 2021
Led by Democrat members of Congress Mark Pocan and Debbie Dingell, the letter – which comes three months after Israel’s 11-day onslaught on the Strip that killed more than 250 people including women and children – called for securing changes that are “vital to addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”
The lawmakers said that Gaza’s humanitarian situation has been “exacerbated by the recent hostilities between Hamas and Israel” and “left an estimated 1.3 million Palestinians in need of humanitarian assistance.”
“Unfortunately the recent Israeli air campaign in Gaza has only worsened living conditions, inflicting $380 million in damage to the beleaguered strip and necessitating $485 million in immediate humanitarian and reconstruction aid,” said the letter referring to a recent report by the UN, the World Bank and EU.
The recent assault in May 2021 led to widespread destruction of material resources that undermines prospects for recovery & reconstruction in Gaza.
As the GRM fundamentally perpetuates Israel's siege, what is needed is a new reconstruction mechanism https://t.co/cOrwCbPnLu
— Al-Shabaka الشبكة (@AlShabaka) August 20, 2021
The letter called on Blinken to work with Israel and Egypt on issuing clear guidance on materials allowed into Gaza and to review the efficacy of the existing Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism agreement.
With Israel having effective control of Gaza, the occupation state has the ultimate say over what goes in and out of the besieged Strip. It’s often been accused of denying essential material including basic foods to punish Palestinians.
Israel’s restriction of Gaza’s fishing zone to six nautical miles was also condemned by the US lawmakers as a form of collective punishment.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)