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Pocan, Kildee, Johnson Call on Israel to Grant Access to Gaza

Apr 25, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC (April 25, 2018)  U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02), Dan Kildee (MI-05), and Hank Johnson (GA-04) today wrote a letter to Ron Dermer, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., calling on Israel to allow Members of Congress to enter Gaza. The Members are requesting permission to visit the area to oversee the appropriate and effective use of U.S. taxpayer dollars allocated to humanitarian aid for Palestinians living in Gaza. Pocan, Kildee, and Johnson visited Israel in 2016 and were denied the opportunity to visit the region by the Israeli Coordination and Liaison Administration to the Gaza Strip.

“As you know, the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza territory is quickly worsening, with nearly 1 million Gaza residents now dependent on emergency food assistance, in large part due to a decade-old land, sea and air blockade,” wrote the Members. “In addition to nearly half of Gaza’s 2 million inhabitants being unemployed and on food assistance, the United Nations has reported that ‘Gaza’s only water source will be depleted, and irreversibly so by 2020, unless immediate remedial action is taken.’ Furthermore, the provision of electricity remains well below what is needed to provide critical services, like health care and wastewater treatment.”

“Given the current situation in Gaza, our attention is required now more than ever. We can think of no reason to deny us access to Gaza again, short of making sure that outside officials not see the worsening conditions,” concluded the Members. “With that, we respectfully request that the Israeli government expedite and approve our request to enter the Gaza Strip for the purpose of observing and evaluating the U.S.-financed humanitarian work.”

The full letter is available here.