SPONSORED:

Democratic senators ask Pompeo to provide coronavirus aid to Palestinian territories

Democratic senators ask Pompeo to provide coronavirus aid to Palestinian territories
© Greg Nash

A group of Democratic senators led by Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden: 'Difficult decision' to staff administration with House, Senate members The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus MORE (D-Mass.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Democratic senators offer bill to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers MORE (D-Md.) on Monday asked Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoBiden's State Department picks are a diplomatic slam dunk Kissinger tells Biden to go easy on China Saudi-Israeli diplomacy progresses amid looming Middle East challenges MORE to ensure the Gaza Strip and the West Bank receive any necessary aid to combat the coronavirus pandemic in a letter.

In the letter, the senators note that at least 50 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the West Bank and two in the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Authority has declared a state of emergency and established a joint operations room with the Israeli government.

“Gaza, with a population of approximately 1.8 million people and one of the most densely populated areas of the world, has a weak public health system, and has been subject to a blockade and border restrictions since 2007,” the senators wrote, noting that an estimated 38 percent of residents live in poverty and about a third of essential medications are unavailable.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Altogether, these conditions, if compounded by a COVID-19 outbreak in the region, would further endanger the health of Palestinians in the coastal enclave,” the letter states, noting that in 2018 the Trump administration froze nearly all bilateral aid to the Palestinians and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees.

“Given the spread of the coronavirus in the West Bank and Gaza, the extreme vulnerability of the health system in Gaza, and the continued withholding of U.S. aid to the Palestinian people, we are concerned that the Administration is failing to take every reasonable step to help combat this public health emergency in the Palestinian Territories,” the letter adds.

Warren and Van Hollen asked for further details on how the administration plans to obligate the $75 million in Palestinian aid mandated by appropriations for fiscal 2020, as well as how many medical facilities in the Palestinian territories are equipped to treat coronavirus patients and what steps the State Department is taking to coordinate with U.N. agencies and foreign governments.

Warren and Van Hollen were joined on the letter by Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience Durbin seeks to become top-ranking Democrat on Judiciary panel Feinstein to step down as top Democrat on Judiciary Committee MORE (D-Vt.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden: 'Difficult decision' to staff administration with House, Senate members Hillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far MORE (I-Vt.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallFive House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Overnight Energy: Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' | GM reverses on Trump, exits suit challenging California's tougher emissions standards | United Nations agency says greenhouse gas emissions accumulating despite lockdown decline GSA transition delay 'poses serious risk' to Native Americans, Udall says MORE (D-N.M.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySupreme Court declines to hear case challenging unlimited super PAC fundraising Trump supporters demonstrate across the country following Biden-Harris win Merkley wins reelection in Oregon Senate race MORE (D-Ore.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Kerry says Paris climate deal alone 'is not enough' | EPA halts planned Taiwan trip for Wheeler| EPA sued over rule extending life of toxic coal ash ponds Overnight Energy: Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' | GM reverses on Trump, exits suit challenging California's tougher emissions standards | United Nations agency says greenhouse gas emissions accumulating despite lockdown decline GSA transition delay 'poses serious risk' to Native Americans, Udall says MORE (D-Del.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | JPMorgan: Economy will shrink in first quarter due to COVID-19 spike Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol MORE (D-Ohio).