Humanitarian aid should not be politicized

Through the Augusta Victoria Hospital and the Vocational Training Program, The LWF Jerusalem program has been assisting Palestinian refugees for 70 years. Photo: LWF / M. Renaux

Christian denominations and organizations call for release of funds for necessary humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees

(LWI) - In a letter sent this week to U.S. President Donald Trump, Christian denominations and organizations in the United States of America, urge the U.S. government to release $65 million in U.S. funding it has decided to withhold from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a member church of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), the Alliance of Baptists, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Reformed Church in America are among those taking a stand against any politicization of humanitarian aid in the letter to the U.S. president. Referring to the long standing position of the U.S. government that “a hungry child knows no politics,” the letter states:

“Humanitarian aid must be provided to civilians on the basis of need alone, not used as a way to attempt to extract concessions from political leaders.”

“Humanitarian aid must be provided to civilians on the basis of need alone, not used as a way to attempt to extract concessions from political leaders.”
Letter from Christian denominations and organizations in the United States of America

The churches and organizations also express their hope that a peaceful resolution can be found:

“We yearn deeply for the day when UNRWA will no longer need to exist, but this must be the result of a negotiated resolution of the conflict, based on international law, that is fair and just for both Palestinians and Israelis.”

At its Assembly in Windhoek, Namibia, in May 2017 the LWF called for "peace with justice in Palestine and Israel” and reaffirmed “the efforts of the churches, the international community and all persons of good will toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict." (link: assembly resolution)

Until the peaceful resolution of the conflict, the work of UNRWA and humanitarian organizations such as The Lutheran World Federation, providing aid and relief is vital.

“More than half a million Palestinian children are educated in UNRWA schools. Half of Gaza’s population receive food assistance from UNRWA. Hundreds of thousands of people each year rely on health services provided by UNRWA clinics. These already-vulnerable communities will be forced to suffer even more if these unconscionable cuts are not restored.“

Through the Augusta Victoria Hospital and the Vocational Training Program, The LWF Jerusalem program has been assisting Palestinian refugees for 70 years.

Read the letter