According to published
reports, in January, 2009, by the
Associated Press, President Obama authorized an emergency contribution
of $20.3 million solely for "urgent relief efforts in the Gaza Strip."
The State Department issued no statement regarding any plans or policies for immigration
of Gaza refugees out of
the Middle East.
The U.S. Emergency
Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) fund was set up in accordance to
the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 where the
President of the United States may determine that funds be
released to aid refugees for relief and migration.
President Obama issued this determination on January 27, 2009 and
contrary to some forwarded eRumors has nothing to do with HR-1388.
for the Presidential Order
here for findings on HR-1388
The authorization was
issued a day after the United Nations launched an appeal for $613
million to aid Palestine in recovery efforts. The article said,
"The money will go to U.N. agencies and the International
Committee of the Red Cross, which are distributing emergency food
assistance, providing medical care and temporary shelter, creating
temporary employment and restoring access to electricity and potable
There is an official
release detailing the distribution of funds on the America.Gov web site.
Click for details.
This was shortly after the
world focus was on Gaza when
Israel launched a military operation that lasted three weeks in efforts
to neutralize Hamas rocket launchers that had been targeting Southern
Israel. Many locations within the Gaza area were deemed
targets by Israel including Hamas intelligence headquarters, locations
of rocket-launchers, squads, and a tunnel used for smuggling weapons
from outside sources.
The outcome of the
Israeli operation dealt a severe blow to Hamas with an estimate of $2
billion in damages reported along with the deaths of 1,300 Palestinians
including Hamas commando Mohammed Shalpokh which Israel blamed for the
rocket attacks against them from northern Gaza.
It is not uncommon
that a President issue such an order. President George W. Bush
determined that funds be sent to refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, and
Sudan more than once during his terms in office.