Yesterday, Over 700 Jewish Americans sent a critical petition to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling for the immediate release of $75 million in emergency humanitarian funding for Palestinian refugees. The funds, previously approved by Congress to provide essential food assistance to vulnerable Palestinian families via the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), are set to expire at midnight this Saturday.
In a plea to Secretary Blinken, the petition highlights the urgency of the situation. Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has imposed a hold on these crucial funds, preventing their release for months despite repeated appeals from concerned advocates. Without swift action by the State Department to override the hold, over 1.2 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza face an impending humanitarian catastrophe, with many vulnerable children left without access to food.
The text of the petition, delivered to Secretary Blinken, implores him to take immediate action and expedite the release of the allocated funds for emergency food assistance to Palestinian refugees. It underscores the moral duty to provide emergency food assistance and emphasizes the United States' pivotal role in advancing peace and stability in the region by addressing the fundamental humanitarian needs of Palestinians.
Americans for Peace Now’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said "We’re sending this petition on the eve of Sukkot. We cannot in good conscience celebrate the fall harvest while crucial funding for food assistance to Palestinians is allowed to expire. The situation in Gaza is at a dire juncture, and lives hang in the balance. It is our moral obligation to do everything we can to ensure these funds are released in time."