Democrats call for $75 million in Palestine aid to be freed

Democrats call for $75 million in Palestine aid to be freed amid Gaza's 'humanitarian catastrophe'
2 min read
03 June, 2021
James Risch, the Republican addressee, is believed to be the reason the money has been kept back.
The letter is addressed to Republican James Risch [MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty]

Nearly 150 Democratic members of Congress are calling on a key Republican Senator to allow $75 million in aid to Palestine to be freed.

The 145 members of the US' lower house on Wednesday sent a letter to the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

James Risch, the Republican in question, is believed to be the reason the money has been held back, Haaretz reported on Wednesday.

The Democrats said they wanted "to respectfully request" the $75 million be let go.

They said this "is so desperately needed to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians rebuilding their lives" following the recent escalation in Gaza.

Israeli bombing killed over 200 people in Gaza in a brutal 11 day military campaign last month, while rocket fire from Hamas and others in Gaza took the lives of 12 in Israel.

The letter, headed up by Congressman Jamie Raskin, also said: "Gaza is experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe. Buildings lie in rubble. Access to clean water and electricity is sporadic or nonexistent."

It continued, explaining that food, coronavirus, and homelessness are other concerns.

"The magnitude of the crisis is staggering".

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Figures as diametrically opposed as left-wing, pro-Palestine politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ted Deutch, a clear supporter of Israel, have signed on, Haaretz said.

The Biden White House had pledged the money to help rebuild Gaza.

The cash was first agreed by both sides of the political divide.

Donald Trump was the one who gave the measure assent, the letter noted.

The message also explained: "Secretary Antony Blinken has made clear that Hamas and other terrorist groups will not benefit from our humanitarian assistance."

Jewish group Americans for Peace Now's president and chief executive, Hadar Susskind backed the letter.

"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."