Israel attacks Palestinians as they fight COVID-19

Women pour dry beans into bags

Workers for the United Nations agency UNRWA in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, prepare food rations to be delivered to the homes of Palestinian refugee families on 31 March, in an effort to avoid people congregating at distribution centers, as a measure to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 in the densely populated territory. 

Ashraf Amra APA images

Israeli occupation forces continue to attack Palestinian communities as they struggle to hold back the threat from the coronavirus pandemic.

Occupation forces wearing hazmat suits and carrying assault rifles raided a home near Ramallah early Tuesday:

According to local media, occupation forces detained at least four Palestinians during overnight raids on homes in and around the West Bank city of Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority.

On Tuesday evening, Israeli forces confiscated food parcels that were due to be distributed to quarantined families in Sur Baher, a village south of Jerusalem:

According to Palestinian media, occupation forces raided a school where the parcels were being prepared, detained four members of the local emergency committee and seized 300 food packages.

The charitable distribution was supported by contributions from Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Israeli forces also carried out raids and detentions in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat.

Other videos show Israeli forces assaulting and detaining Palestinians without taking any precautions to prevent potential transmission of the virus:

In this incident on Tuesday, occupation forces in the East Jerusalem village of Issawiyeh, violently wrestled and restrained a Palestinian man in front of his young son:

According to local media, the Israeli forces attacked a group of Palestinians who had been praying outside a local mosque.

Number of cases grows

As of Tuesday, there were 119 confirmed coronavirus cases among Palestinians, the vast majority of them in the occupied West Bank, though the number of cases is growing in Gaza.

According to the UN humanitarian coordination agency OCHA, the relatively low number “may reflect the limited testing capacity.”

Israel, whose caseload has surged to more than 5,000, is struggling to contain the outbreak.

Even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, army chief of staff Aviv Kochavi and other senior officers are now in isolation after coming into contact with infected persons.

The outbreak in Israel represents a direct threat to Palestinians.

Since 23 March, Israeli authorities have been expelling thousands of Palestinian workers from Israel to the occupied West Bank, “after some of them showed fatigue and high temperatures,” according to the human rights group Euro-Med Monitor.

“Most of the deportations took place without medical examinations or special arrangements with the Palestinian authorities, to ensure that workers are treated and examined upon return to ensure their well-being, which amounts to racial discrimination.”

The group stated these practices “pose a public health threat and makes it easier to spread COVID-19 among Palestinians.”

Euro-Med Monitor added that the first Palestinian to die from COVID-19, a woman in the West Bank village of Biddu, was infected by her son who works in Israel.

A large number of the Palestinians who tested positive for the coronavirus “were infected during work in Israel or Israeli settlements in the West Bank,” the group said on Tuesday.

The Palestinian Authority has placed the areas of the West Bank that it controls under a lockdown since 22 March.

It has also recalled all Palestinian workers employed in Israel to the West Bank, where they are supposed to go into home quarantine for two weeks.

But as OCHA notes, “the scope of implementation remains unclear, as the construction sector in Israel, where most workers are employed, has remained active.”

There are also “no means of ensuring that they follow the home quarantine regulations.”

OCHA praised the “close cooperation between the Palestinian and Israel authorities” since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

The UN agency credits Israel for facilitating the import of 10,000 test kits by the Palestinian Authority and for holding a training for medical staff at East Jerusalem’s al-Makassed hospital.

Yet Israel’s continued attacks on the Palestinian population, potentially exposing them to contagion, make a mockery of any Israeli goodwill.

Concern for prisoners

There is also mounting alarm for the well-being of some 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel.

“Our growing concern for Palestinian prisoners and detainees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic grows out of the systematic and routine medical negligence inside Israeli detention and interrogation centers,” prisoners rights group Addameer said on Tuesday.

In 2019, five Palestinians died in Israeli custody, three as a result of medical negligence, while hundreds suffer from chronic diseases that go untreated, according to Addameer.

The group is urging an international campaign to call for the release of all the prisoners.

Since early March, Israel has banned all family and lawyer visits to detained Palestinians, citing the coronavirus crisis.

Israel has indefinitely postponed military court hearings, prolonging detention.

Israeli prison authorities are also refusing to install landlines to allow prisoners to speak to their families – as previously promised – exacerbating their isolation.

Four Palestinian prisoners who came into contact with an infected Israeli prison worker in mid-March have now been taken out of quarantine.

Two were released to their families in the West Bank without being tested for the coronavirus, and two were returned to prison, Addameer said.

Gaza

Since Monday, health authorities in Gaza have announced three new coronavirus cases, bringing the total in the territory to 12.

All those infected were travelers quarantined on return to Gaza, or security officers who had been in contact with them, who are also in quarantine.

There have as yet been no reports of community spread among the general population.

Yet there have been more warnings of the catastrophe that could ensue if such an outbreak occurs.

“The capacity of the Palestinian health system to cope with an expected increase in patients remains severely impaired by longstanding challenges and critical shortages, particularly in the Gaza Strip,” the UN humanitarian coordination agency OCHA said.

“People in refugee camps and other poor, densely populated areas across the [occupied Palestinian territories] face a higher risk of contagion due to overcrowding and inadequate sanitation.”

Many Palestinian and international organizations and health experts have already warned of looming catastrophe if the pandemic reaches the population in Gaza, where the health system, water and sanitation and the economy have been severely degraded by three major Israeli military assaults and a tight siege in recent years.

Due to the virus, authorities in Gaza announced on Tuesday that educational institutions would remain closed indefinitely, along with other measures aimed at avoiding an outbreak.

Authorities in Gaza announced that they were allocating $1 million for emergency payments to 10,000 families who have lost their incomes due to the pandemic, and that another $300,000 had been donated from the salaries of government employees for redistribution to low-income families.

Turkey has agreed to prepare the hospital it supports in Gaza to care for COVID-19 patients.

International organizations have appealed for $34 million in emergency funding to fight the pandemic in the West Bank and Gaza, of which $9 million has already been contributed by development agencies, as well as the British and Irish governments.

This comes after Qatar previously pledged $150 million over six months in the effort to fight COVID-19 in Gaza.

On Tuesday, 100,000 families in Gaza began receiving $100 each donated by Qatar to help them through the crisis caused by the pandemic.

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"Israeli forces confiscated food parcels that were due to be distributed to quarantined families in Sur Baher, a village south of Jerusalem." Over and over and over: the Zionist regime and the Trump regime are criminals. No wonder Pompeo threatens the International Criminal Court. Palestine, Iran, Venezuela - over and over and over: the Zionist regime and the Trump regime are criminals.

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Since the Israeli government, the IOF, Israeli and various international media organizations, the ‘settlers’, and what appears to be the vast majority of the Israeli public- brainwashed as they are -routinely refer to virtually any and all Palestinians as ‘terrorists‘, and their legal actions to resist occupation and siege as ‘terrorism’, it is long past time to apply that term unreservedly and consistently to the Israeli government, the IDF, vast numbers of ‘settlers’, and those members of the public and media which consistently support and cheer on the illegal assaults, ‘administrative detentions’, tortures, murders, property and land theft, incremental genocide, collective punishment, and all other brutalities and abuses against the Palestinians. For the occupation forces to be raiding homes in the middle of a pandemic is simply, inarguably more terrorism. The Israeli and Zionist supporters’ use of the terms ‘terrorists’ and ‘terrorism’ have always been propagandistic and not truthful in nature; the manipulation of public opinion abroad in societies largely ignorant of what is going on in Palestine, where majorities believe lies fed to them by their government and media. Since we have multitudinous documented examples of Israeli terrorism, it is time to simply refer to Israeli politicians as terrorists and members of the occupation forces as terrorists, for it is the only term that accurately describes them. It is time to use the same tactic that the Zionists have been using for decades to distort the truth and extort support for their ethnic cleansing, in order to tell the truth of all of these many incidents -from home raids during the coronavirus pandemic, to the Mavi Marmara, to settlers firebombing Palestinian homes and killing babies on Palestinian land that they are illegally occupying, to the slaughter at the perimeter fence in the Friday protests supporting the Great March of Return. Zionism is not only racism but terrorism.

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🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸
SUPPORT BDS
SUPPORT BDS
🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸
I AM NOT AN ANTISEMITE; I AM AN ANTIZIONIST, DESCENDED FROM A POLISH ASHKANAZI JEWISH FAMILY.
DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY THIS HIDEOUS VICIOUS EXTREME RIGHTWING ZIONIST LIKUD REGIME MURDERS, BEATS, MAIMS, IMPRISONS AND STEALS THE LANDS AND PROPERTIES AND DESTROYS THE HOMES, SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS AND VILLAGES OF THE INDIGENOUS PALESTINIAN PEOPLE. DAMN YOU NETANYAHU AND YOUR CRIMINAL PARIAH APARTHEID REGIME AND DAMN YOU TRUMP AND YOUR EVIL ADMINISTRATION FOR SUPPORTING AND ARMING GENOCIDE AND LASTLY, DAMN YOU, SELF SERVING WESTERN STATES THAT SELL ARMS TO THE ZIONISTS OR ARE SUPINE VASSALS BACKED BY YOUR CRAVEN PROPAGANDIST MSM THAT LOOK THE OTHER WAY WHEN GENOCIDE IS CARRIED OUT IN YOUR NAME, BUT NOT IN MINE, NOT IN MINE, NEVER IN MY NAME.
🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸

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I cannot understand, given what we know of the history of WW2, how these blatant atrocities by the Israelis in Palestine are allowed to go on without even comment by the media in western countries. I feel helpless and furious.

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The image of heavily armed soldiers with a dog to assist entering a quiet home is paranoia made manifest. The arrests, the State thuggery, the behaviour of goons. These aren't characteristic of a democratic regime. This is what happens when you have to defend the indefensible. There is no defence, moral or intellectual of the Israeli regime in its actions since 1948. They have been racist, anti-democratic, dehumanising and vile. The regime is sunk in lies. Its apologists across the world have to lie. Trump has to lie. Johnson has to lie. Macron has to lie. To tell the truth is simple: the Israelis, backed by the US (and without the US the Israeli economy would crumble) have rejected every offer of peace. Did the US not veto the UN resolution of January 1976 under pressure from the Zionists because what it offered was peace through a two-states arrangement? Was the Reagan plan of 1981 not strangled at birth because the Zionists would hear nothing of a freeze on settlements? Was the war on Lebanon not essentially a means of destroying the PLO and denying the Palestinians any chance of national identity? Thus, the lie must be told, over and over, night and day, in newsprint, on the radio, on the tv, in senates and parliaments, that the Zionists are virtuous peace-seekers and the Arabs perfidious terrorists. This is the lie which will resonate down the centuries and condemn all those who support it to the judgement of posterity which will see them for what they are: liars and dissemblers in the interests of racism and in denial of humanity. History will revile them, like it reviles slave owners, South African racists, colonial bullies and exploiters. They are writing the words for their own headstones: Here lie mendacious cowards who sided with power and put their boot on the neck of the oppressed. They defiled nature with their lies and thuggery. The future will look back on them with the disgust they deserve. They have a choice. Let the facts speak.

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