Maryland Senator Suggests a Law Could Empower Biden to Increase Aid in Gaza, According to his Statement

Published: Mar. 26, 2024
Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images

On the bustling streets of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, trucks laden with humanitarian aid have been frequenting - their cargo essential for the survival of Palestinians struggling to get by. But how successful have these critical efforts been? And could the U.S. be doing more to support these efforts?

Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, thinks so. Having witnessed the Rafah border crossing in January, he expresses alarm at Israel’s potential role in impeding the flow of essential supplies. A subtle yet adamant accusation that sparks a more profound conversation - is the Biden administration adequately leveraging its national laws to ensure increased aid delivery to this distressed region?

Van Hollen specifically cites the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act, a law that could conceivably compel Israel to allow more aid through. The law stipulates that no military assistance shall be provided by the U.S. to any nation inadvertently hindering the transport and delivery of U.S. aid. Astoundingly, the desperate situation on the ground in Gaza, with children on the brink of starvation, seems to trigger this law. But are there real intentions to put it into action?

In a recent discussion with Mary Louise Kelly, Van Hollen asserts that given the dire circumstances in Gaza, the law must be invoked. He fiercely opposes any argument justifying Israel's strict inspection protocols that have caused rejection and delay in delivering essential items such as maternity kits and water purification systems. Yet, the Biden administration seems hesitant to use this 'tool' at its disposal, leaving Van Hollen and many others flabbergasted.

Fascinatingly, there is a precedent for using the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act against an ally, as done by Bill Clinton with Turkey. Will Biden follow suit? Will the U.S. increase its pressure on Israel, beyond the shift in rhetoric lately shown by the administration? The story remains unfolding.

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