Eight Senate Democrats Ask President to Release Funds to Palestinians
In a letter sent to President Trump on Friday, eight Senate Democrats petitioned the US leader to release funding that is earmarked for Palestinian entities, claiming the money is sorely needed for use in coping with the coronavirus. The plea refers to $75 million that House and Senate leadership agreed to send to the Palestinians from the current fiscal year’s budget but which has not yet been released. The signatories include Chris Van Hollen (D-Md), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt), Tom Carper (D-De), Jeff Merkley (D-Or), and Tom Udall (D-NM). The allocation is at odds with the Trump administration policy ending support for the Palestinian Authority but using the earmarked funding to pressure the Palestinian leadership to recant its boycott of all things American and become engaged in the administration’s peace initiative. The Senators’ request focused on medical needs to fight the virus, the impact of which is expected to skyrocket as testing becomes more available. President Trump was also asked to pressure the Israeli government to ease restrictions on bringing the medical supplies into the Palestinian territories.