Palestinian workers manufacture protective coverall suits and masks at a workshop in Gaza City on March 30, 2020 amid coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by AFP)
Eight US senators have urged the administration of President Donald Trump to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians to help them fight the spread of the new coronavirus.
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Senators said as the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip, the US administration should take every "reasonable" step to provide necessary assistance to the Palestinian people in order to prevent a humanitarian disaster in the region.
"It is in the national security interest of the United States and in the interest of the Palestinian people ... to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the Palestinian territories," the Senators wrote.
The novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, initially emerged in China late last year and is now spreading across the globe. It has so far killed more than 35,000 people and infected more than 740,000 others worldwide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.
The infectious disease has so far affected 115 Palestinians and killed one.
The figures also show that more than 4,300 Israelis have tested positive for the disease, which has killed 16 so far.
"Given the spread of the coronavirus in the West Bank and Gaza, the extreme vulnerability of the health system in Gaza, and the continued withholding of US aid to the Palestinian people, we are concerned that the Administration is failing to take every reasonable step to help combat this public health emergency in the Palestinian territories," US senators said.
The letter was signed by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Chris Van Hollen, Patrick Leahy, Tom Udall, Thomas R. Carper, Bernard Sanders, Jeffrey A. Merkley, and Sherrod Brown.
Trump has cut almost all humanitarian aid to Palestinians. The cuts in humanitarian aid are already hitting hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people, especially in Gaza where 80% are dependent on aid.
The United Nations has already warned against the frightening consequences of coronavirus in the Gaza Strip in the wake of 13 years of Israeli-imposed blockade on the territory.
Gaza has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
The Israeli regime denies Gazans their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs with proper wages as well as adequate healthcare and education.
Since 2008, Israel has waged three wars against Gaza, where two million Palestinians live. Thousands of Gazans have been killed in each of these deadly wars.
‘Israel facilitates return of West Bank workers to spread virus
In another development, a group affiliated with the Palestinian Authority has accused Israel of attempting to spread the COVID-19 disease by allowing dozens of Palestinian workers to return to the occupied territories without undergoing medical examinations.
Israeli forces have facilitated the return of Palestinian workers, who were infected with the virus in Israel, to their villages and towns in the occupied West Bank without going through emergency, medical examination and quarantine committees, said the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission.
This came as at dawn Sunday, Israeli forces unlocked some gates and barriers at separation walls and fences in the city of Qalqilya and Tulkarem, allowing dozens of Palestinians who work in Israel to return to their homes.
SOURCE: PRESS TV