[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Palestine and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Palestine Page co-editors or of Jadaliyya.]
The Occupation Forces
Israel Now Occupies 85% of Historic Palestine Israel now occupies at least eighty-five percent of the total area of historic Palestine, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) has confirmed. The Palestinians control less than fifteen percent under strict Israeli restrictions.
IOF Raid Emergency Committees in Hizma, Assault Workers Israeli Occupation Forces on Monday evening stormed the headquarters of the emergency committees in the town of Hizma, north of occupied Jerusalem and assaulted the emergency workers. Local sources said that Israeli Occupation Forces rampaged the headquarters of the emergency committees before they assaulted and insulted the volunteers working at Palestinian checkpoints to prevent the movement of citizens to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Israeli Warplanes, Artillery Attack Locations in Gaza Israeli warplanes and artillery attacked late last night several locations in the north of the blockaded Gaza Strip causing damage but no injuries, reported WAFA correspondent. Israel claims the attacks were in response to the firing yesterday of a projectile from Gaza that fell in an open area in the south of Israel without causing any damage or injury.
Israeli Army Opens Fire at Farmers, Herders in South of Gaza Strip, Push Them Out of Land Israeli soldiers opened fire today at Palestinian farmer and herders east of Khan Younis, in the south of the besieged Gaza Strip, and forced them to leave the area, reported WAFA correspondent. He said the soldiers stationed behind the border fence east of Khan Younis opened fire at herders east of Abasan town and at farmers east of al-Qarara town.
Fisherman Injured in Israeli Navy Attack off Gaza A Palestinian fisherman was injured today after he was shot by Israeli navy off the shore of the northern Gaza Strip, according to WAFA correspondent. Witnesses told WAFA correspondent that a fisherman was injured after he was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet by Israeli navy while he was sailing in the said area. He was moved to hospital for treatment, where his condition was described as medium.
Israeli Military Confiscates Palestinian Field Clinic for Virus Victims — B’Tselem’s ‘shocking’ Report On the morning of Thursday, 26 March, officials from Israel’s Occupation Authority took the construction materials for a Palestinian COVID-19 field clinic in Khirbet Ibziq. In the middle of this crisis, Israel’s military is devoting time and resources to harassing the most vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank that Israel has attempted to drive out of the area for decades.
Israel Links Coronavirus Aid For Gaza to Recovering Soldiers Israel on Wednesday linked any assistance it might offer for the Gaza Strip’s efforts against coronavirus to progress in its attempt to recover two Israeli soldiers lost during the 2014 war in the Palestinian enclave, Reuters reports.
Palestine Records First Death Related to COVID-19 The first death from coronavirus was announced in Palestine by Ibrahim Melhem on 27 March. The day prior, a woman, age sixty-four, died. She was reportedly in contact with her son, who worked in Israel, daughter, and uncle who have COVID-19.
Netanyahu Under Quarantine As Aide Tests Positive For COVID-19 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his close aides have been placed under precautionary quarantine after a staff member within his office tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said on Monday.
'Catastrophe': Fears Over Outbreak of Coronavirus in Gaza According to health officials in the besieged Gaza Strip, at least seven people have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the enclave to nine. In a statement released on Wednesday night, Gaza's Health Ministry said the new patients had been in contact with the first two who tested positive earlier this week.
There is a Serious Shortage of Corona Detecting Equipment in Palestine, Warns Spokesman Palestine has a real shortage in coronavirus detecting equipment and urges world governments to provide it with this kit, today said government spokesman Ibrahim Milhem. “We are facing a shortage in the coronavirus detecting kit,” said Milhem in his daily briefing on the deadly disease in Palestine. “We are in touch with everyone to provide us with this kit.”
‘Officials believe PA collapse is only a matter of time’ Officials in the Palestinian Authority believe that its collapse is only a matter of time in the light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Today’s Opinion has reported. The claim apparently originated with their counterparts in Israel.
Netanyahu to Form ‘coronavirus government’ With Gantz Israeli politics has been thrown into even more turmoil with former General Benny Gantz’s decision to leave the Blue and White bloc to join Benjamin Netanyahu in what has been called a “coronavirus government.” Netanyahu offered Gantz an immediate reward by ensuring his election as speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. He will also be Foreign Minister for eighteen months before switching with Netanyahu and becoming prime minister.
PA Operating in Occupied East Jerusalem Following Exchange of Gunfire According to Haaretz, the move comes after reports of armed confrontations on Monday between local residents of the Palestinian Arab neighborhood and activists from the refugee camp behind the separation wall. A Kafr Akab resident was severely injured during the exchange of gunfire, which lasted for several hours, eyewitnesses claimed.
US Senators Urge Providing Assistance to the Palestinians to Prevent a Humanitarian Disaster Eight senior United States senators urged the US Administration to provide assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza to help them overcome coronavirus pandemic. The senators said that as coronavirus spreads in the Palestinian territories, particularly in the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated areas of the world and blockaded by Israel since 2007, a coronavirus outbreak in the region would further endanger the health of Palestinians.
Turkish Hospital in Gaza Begins Operations to Curb Coronavirus The Palestine-Turkey Friendship Hospital in the occupied Gaza Strip has started operations in an effort to curb the novel coronavirus, the Palestinian Authority’s spokesperson announced on 31 March. It is set to be one of the largest hospitals in Palestine built on a total area of 34,800 square meters, consisting of six floors and a capacity of one hundred eighty beds.
China Delivers 10,000 Coronavirus Kits to Palestine The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry has had ten thousand coronavirus test kits and ventilators delivered from China, according to Wafa news agency. “Before these test kits arrived, we only had hundreds left,” an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Times of Israel. “Now, we have a significant amount.”
Tunisia Mobilizes Financial Support For Palestine Refugees Tunisian Foreign Minister Noureddine Erray has discussed with a UN official mobilizing financial support for Palestinian refugees, Quds Press reported. Erray reiterated during the discussion that the suffering of Palestinian refugees will not end without the termination of the Israeli occupation.
Why Houthis Offered Saudi POWs Swap For Jailed Palestinians Al-Houthi said the offer was made because his group stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people against those who "conspire against its legitimate cause." Hussain al-Bukhaiti, a political analyst who is close to the Houthi movement, told Al Jazeera via telephone from the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, the Houthi initiative is "genuine and is not a show-off offer as some critics have made it out to be."
Settlers and Illegal Settlements
Settlers Attack Herders, Injure One South of Hebron Israeli settlers attacked today Palestinian herders and other civilians in the village of al-Tuwani, south of the city of Hebron in the West Bank, according to a local activist. Fo'ad Amour, a local rights activist, told WAFA that settlers accompanied by attack dogs assaulted herders in the village and injured one of them in his abdomen and hand. He was moved to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.
Israeli Settlers Cut 300 Olive Trees in South of West Bank Hasan Breijieh, from the Anti-Wall, Anti-Settlements Commission, told WAFA that the settlers cut the trees in an area near an illegal settlement between the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem and Hebron. He said the settlers are taking advantage of the anti-corona lockdown on the Bethlehem governorate to cut trees in Palestinian lands, as they have been doing in villages such as al-Khader, Wadi Fukin, and Wadi Rahhal.
Israeli Settlers Cause Corona Concern After Spitting on Palestinian Cars in a West Bank Village Israeli settlers from Ramot caused serious concern of corona pandemic among Palestinians in the village of Beit Iksa, northwest of occupied Jerusalem, when they started to spit on cars entering or leaving the village surrounded by illegal settlements, said witnesses. Village youths confronted the settlers and forced them to leave the area and then proceeded to disinfect the road and cars.
Israel Police Describe Settler Aggression As ‘terrorist act’ A group of right-wing extremist Israeli Occupation settlers threw firebombs at an Israeli Border Police vehicle in what the police describe as a “terrorist act” as the vehicle was leaving the settlement of Yitzhar after trying to enforce a closed-off military zone in the nearby settlers’ outpost of Kumi Ori.
Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Movement
Palestine Solidarity Activism Hasn’t Stopped: Watch These Webinars, Interviews, And Virtual Rallies While Social Distancing Public protests and campus events are obviously not happening these days, but that certainly has not stopped activists and organizations from holding online events. Mondoweiss has collected some of them to watch while social distancing.
Over 30,000 People Tuned into a Virtual Rally Calling For an End to the Gaza Blockade On 30 March, Jewish Voice for Peace, MPower Change, and other Palestinian solidarity groups held a virtual rally to call for an end to the blockade on Gaza. Over five hundred people attended the online event, and over thirty thousand have viewed it over Facebook.
‘A huge and timely BDS victory’: Microsoft Divests From Israeli Tech Firm AnyVision Microsoft has announced that its divesting its shareholding in the Israeli facial recognition company AnyVision. The move follows an audit which was forced by a BDS campaign targeting the company. Activists say that AnyVision’s facial recognition technology is used to spy on Palestinians in the West Bank.
Petition to Israeli High Court Calls For Allowing Prisoners to Meet with Lawyers, Family The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, and the prisoner Kafri Mansour together were slated to file an urgent petition to the Israeli Supreme Court on 26 March against emergency regulations enacted in the shadow of the coronavirus crisis preventing lawyers and family members from meeting with prisoners being held in Israeli detention.
PLO Calls for Palestinian Prisoners to be Released by Israel The Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization called on Tuesday for the international community to put pressure on Israel to release Palestinian prisoners from its jails before it is too late due to the spread of the coronavirus, Quds Net has reported.
Environment, Economy, and Other
Palestinian Laborers Fear Loss of Income As Well As Coronavirus For Palestinians who work in Israel, COVID-19 threatens not only health but their means to provide for their families. With Palestinian laborers who work in Israel being prevented from entering due to fears over COVID-19, the Palestinian economy could lose up to 330 million dollars per month. The flow of Israelis into Palestinian Authority-controlled territory has not been halted in similar ways.
Shtayyeh Announces Emergency Budget Amid Shrinking Government Revenues Shtayyeh announced during a press conference today that the government revenues are expected to decrease by more than fifty percent and that international aid is scheduled to decline but said the salaries of the public servants for March will be paid one hundred percent.
UN Says Gaza’s ‘fragile’ Economy Needs Support to Face Coronavirus A spokesman for the United Nation Secretary-General has said that the “fragile” economy in the besieged Gaza Strip was in António Guterres’s mind when he launched an appeal to raise two billion dollars to help countries at high risk from the coronavirus pandemic, Al-Quds Al-Arabi has reported.
Palestinians Manufacturing Masks for Israel Instead of Clothing As Coronavirus Spreads Following the global outbreak of the highly contagious coronavirus, Palestinian sewing company UniPal 2000 in Gaza is producing surgical masks and other protective gear instead of clothing, reports The Times of Israel. Chairman Nabil Bawwab said the company made the transition at the beginning of March and has been producing thousands of masks and protective suits daily.