CMEP Action Alert: Tell your Senators to restore humanitarian aid to Palestinians
In 2018, the Trump administration announced its decision to cut all US aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). This agency helps administer critical services and resources such as health care, education, and emergency food assistance to Palestinian refugees throughout the Middle East including in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. UNRWA’s work is even more important now as COVID-19 greatly exacerbates the difficult conditions that Palestinian refugees endure. Without US funding, UNRWA is unable to execute its important activities that serve millions of Palestinians. Before the $360 million dollars in US funding was cut, it accounted for nearly 30 percent of UNRWA’s budget. Today, while COVID continues to rise throughout the world, UNRWA is left without the funds to pay its November and December salaries for all of its 28,000 staff, including health care workers and teachers. US funding is critical to help relieve the financial crisis UNRWA currently faces and to help provide humanitarian aid to vulnerable Palestinian refugees.
In response to this crisis, it is important that members of the Senate ensure the funds already allocated in the House passed bill H.R. 7608 remain in the final Senate version of the legislation. HR 7608 directs immediate resumption of humanitarian funding to the Palestinian people, including UNRWA. With the December 11th deadline for appropriations for the 2021 fiscal year quickly approaching, it is imperative that senators hear from their constituents who support restoring humanitarian aid to Palestinians.
Current year funding is available for UNRWA through the Migration Refugee Assistance account as well as $75 million Congress specifically set aside for humanitarian and development assistance in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It is essential that members of Congress ensure that these funds are used to help serve Palestinians. Contact your senators today!
For decades, UNRWA has been supported by every US president – Republican and Democrat – until now. Denying humanitarian aid deepens the crisis Palestinians face and threatens the goal of stability and peace for all people in the region. UNRWA has responded to U.S. aid cuts and the worsening conditions under COVID-19 by making drastic cuts. The agency has reduced humanitarian assistance and required teachers to teach overcrowded classes. Despite the crisis that has developed from the Trump administration’s decision to cut aid to UNRWA, U.S. senators can help guarantee that Palestinians receive crucial humanitarian aid. So, contact your senators today to help guarantee a better tomorrow for Palestinians in need!
(Click here to visit The Town Hall Project to see if your member of Congress is hosting an event. If so, make your voice heard and let them know you support restoring aid to Palestinians. )