Pascrell Urges Trump Administration Reverse Humanitarian Aid Cuts
Letter to Pompeo, Bolton calls for restoration of funds
Washington, DC, July 30, 2018
Today, Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House National Security Adviser John Bolton requesting that the Trump administration restore cuts to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) humanitarian programs.
“While it was longstanding U.S. policy to provide humanitarian assistance to Palestinians through UNRWA and USAID, President Trump has made conditions worse by placing a hold on humanitarian aid to Gaza. UNRWA provides access to primary health care for approximately 1.3 million Palestine refugees through 22 UNRWA health centers in Gaza,” Rep. Pascrell writes. “As a strong supporter of our nation’s commitment to the safety and dignity of Palestinians and Israelis, I urge you to restore these vital contributions.”
Pascrell made clear that withholding these funds not only has humanitarian implications, but national security ones as well.
“Withholding funds for UNRWA and USAID not only hampers their ability to deliver education and lifesaving healthcare services to millions of people, but it also has national security ramifications for our closest allies, including Israel and Jordan. These funds play a critical role in our strategy to support and secure peace and stability in the region.”
While reiterating his powerful opposition to any empowerment of the terrorist group Hamas, Pascrell is concerned that civilians in Gaza have access to the basics of life: medical supplies, clear water, and reliable electricity.
“Alleviating poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity serves as a critical first step to improving the security and safety of both Palestinians and Israelis. These are serious security, humanitarian and political challenges which can be addressed by restoring U.S. funding for UNRWA and USAID humanitarian aid in Gaza,” the letter concludes.