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 WarrenNo new taxes for the ultra rich — fix bad tax policy instead Democrats back away from quick reversal of Trump tax cuts It's time for newspapers to stop endorsing presidential candidates MORE (D-Mass.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenMid-Atlantic states sue EPA over Chesapeake Bay pollution Trump payroll-tax deferral for federal workers sparks backlash Senators urge administration to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers MORE (D-Md.) on Monday asked Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep Trump's foreign policy successes confound his detractors It's time for a Jackson-Vanik Amendment for China 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.

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“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 LeahyBattle over timing complicates Democratic shutdown strategy Hillicon Valley: Russia 'amplifying' concerns around mail-in voting to undermine election | Facebook and Twitter take steps to limit Trump remarks on voting | Facebook to block political ads ahead of election Top Democrats press Trump to sanction Russian individuals over 2020 election interference efforts MORE (D-Vt.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate Republicans signal openness to working with Biden Hillicon Valley: DOJ indicts Chinese, Malaysian hackers accused of targeting over 100 organizations | GOP senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal | QAnon awareness jumps in new poll Schumer, Sanders call for Senate panel to address election security MORE (I-Vt.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee | Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' Senate Democrats demand White House fire controversial head of public lands agency OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump extends Florida offshore drilling pause, expands it to Georgia, South Carolina | Democrats probe Park Service involvement in GOP convention | Sanders attacks 'corporate welfare' to coal industry included in relief package MORE (D-N.M.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Trump, Biden renew push for Latino support Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response Oregon senator says Trump's blame on 'forest management' for wildfires is 'just a big and devastating lie' MORE (D-Ore.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperDemocrat asks for probe of EPA's use of politically appointed lawyers Overnight Energy: Study links coronavirus mortality to air pollution exposure | Low-income, minority households pay more for utilities: report OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats push resolution to battle climate change, sluggish economy and racial injustice | Senators reach compromise on greenhouse gas amendment stalling energy bill | Trump courts Florida voters with offshore drilling moratorium MORE (D-Del.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownEmboldened Democrats haggle over 2021 agenda Hillicon Valley: Russia 'amplifying' concerns around mail-in voting to undermine election | Facebook and Twitter take steps to limit Trump remarks on voting | Facebook to block political ads ahead of election Top Democrats press Trump to sanction Russian individuals over 2020 election interference efforts MORE (D-Ohio).