Peace Action National Alert for Affiliates and members
Photo: Feb. 12 Portland, Maine FMI : https://www.mvprights.org/
It's horrific to watch the suffering and killing in Gaza. It can feel discouraging, but there are things we can do. One is to ensure that life-saving aid continues to flow to the displaced millions suffering from famine, without water, without the basics of healthcare.
Incredibly, Congress may be voting soon to permanently block that aid.
It's cruel. While Congress votes on more military aid for Israel they are also debating blocking aid to the critical UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
Please write today and ask your members of Congress to support -- not block -- critical aid to UNRWA.
The campaign to block aid to this critical agency is part of a concerted effort to punish Palestinians that predates October 7. The Israeli government has long opposed UNRWA as part of its policy of disposition and deprivation of the Palestinian people. This has made UNRWA funding a political football in D.C.. Then-president Trump defunded the agency as part of a right wing effort to dismantle support to the Palestinian people. Since Biden restored funding in 2021, some Republicans have been trying to block it again.
The Biden administration has now, itself, frozen the funding, after Israel accused about a dozen of UNRWA’s more than 13,000 employees of participating in the October 7th attacks in Israel. UNRWA acted quickly and fired those accused and moved to investigate the charges. But the controversy has given some Democrats a rationale to join Republicans in opposing UNRWA funding. UNRWA’s enemies are seizing on that opportunity to build bipartisan momentum towards a permanent ban on this lifesaving support for the Palestinian people. We need to step up and push back.
It’s important to understand that UNRWA is not one agency among many. Experts point out that UNRWA is “best understood as an unofficial substitute for the state in the areas where it operates.” With 85 percent of Gaza’s population of 2.2 million displaced, nearly all of those people depend to some degree on UNRWA-distributed assistance. UN and European humanitarian experts call the agency an “indispensable UN body” and say that UNRWA is necessary “to deliver the nuts and bolts of social services. It is the only organization that has the reach and the bandwidth to do that.”
As you know, Peace Action and its members are continuing to fight to end Israel’s brutal war crimes in Gaza by calling for a ceasefire and by opposing the U.S. sending more arms to Israel. As Israel threatens to attack Rafah, where some 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering, we need a ceasefire immediately. But with the millions of Palestinians displaced and in famine conditions we also need to unfreeze critical aid to save lives. We must focus on every avenue, and every strategy, that can end this unjust violence and suffering.
Thank you for all you do,Jon Rainwater
Peace Action(edited to fit this page)