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Pocan, Dingell Call for Increased Humanitarian Access for Gaza

Aug 24, 2021
Press Release
Border closures and other restrictions have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in Gaza

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) are calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to take action to reopen border crossings in Gaza to allow humanitarian aid and reconstruction materials to reach those in need.

The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza has been exacerbated by limited operations at the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings and tight restrictions that were placed on the Rafah crossing. Reduced operations and border closures have significantly impacted the ability of governments and human rights groups to deliver critical supplies to Gaza’s 2.1 million residents.

On August 19, 2021, Reps. Pocan and Dingell and led 53 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling for immediate action to reopen border crossings in Gaza and to extend Gaza’s fishing zone to 20 nautical miles, in accordance with international agreements.

On Monday, August 23, Egypt announced it closed the Rafah border, the sole crossing between Egypt and Gaza that has allowed delivery of essential materials under tight restrictions since February.

“Building walls does not solve problems,” Rep. Pocan said. “What the Israeli and Egyptian governments are doing to the people of Gaza is downright shameful. The United States has the moral obligation to call for and demand that humanitarian aid be allowed to enter Gaza and help the millions of people who live there maintain their basic human dignity.”

“Access to humanitarian aid and materials for reconstruction are critical to the lives of millions of Palestinians in Gaza who have are seeing a significant lack of access to clean water, food, medicine, and electricity,” said Rep. Dingell. “With the recent closure of the Egyptian Rafah border, access to basic necessities have been greatly reduced. The U.S. must immediately engage with our counterparts in Egypt and Israel to reopen the Rafah border and ensure the Kerem Shalom and Eraz crossings are returned to full capacity.”

Full text of the letter is available here.