US Draft Resolution Seeks To Restore Humanitarian Aid To West Bank, Gaza - Democrats

US Draft Resolution Seeks to Restore Humanitarian Aid to West Bank, Gaza - Democrats

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 17th April, 2019) A newly introduced draft resolution seeks to restore US humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, a group of Democratic senators announced in a press release on Tuesday.

"The resolution would direct the executive branch to resume providing humanitarian aid that is distributed through non-governmental organizations, which Congress has appropriated but the Trump administration has refused to obligate," the senators said in the release. "It also highlights the importance of providing critical bilateral aid that supports essential health services and provides food that benefits Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza."

The resolution urges the Trump administration to authorize all bilateral assistance to the West Bank and Gaza that Congress appropriated in fiscal year 2018, including $196.5 million for the economic support fund; $60 million for international narcotics control and law enforcement; and $1 million for nonproliferation, anti-terrorism, de-mining and related programs.

Last August, President Donald Trump's administration announced that it had cut around $200 million in aid to the Palestinians.

In September, Washington halted another $300 million in funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides assistance to Palestinian refugees.

On February 1, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that it had ceased all assistance Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

USAID took the step after the Palestinian Authority rejected all forms of US assistance over potential legal issues that could result from the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA). The ATCA, which went into effect on January 1, empowers Americans to sue foreign aid recipients over their alleged complicity in "acts of war."

The resolution introduced to Congress on Tuesday calls for alleviating those concerns by enacting legislation to ensure that the ATCA may not be used as a basis to assert jurisdiction over the Palestinian Authority.

The Senators backing the resolution include Dianne Feinstein, Jeff Merkely, Chris Coons, Patrick Leahy, Chris Van Hollen and Catherine Cortez Masto.

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