[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 Fighting Palestinian Efforts To Prevent Corona Virus Spread in Jerusalem & West Bank In violation of international and humanitarian law, Israel is now impeding Palestinian efforts to fight the coronavirus In the West Bank and Jerusalem by arresting Palestinian officials in Jerusalem and restricting the freedom of movement of the Palestinian police and municipalities in Area C.
Israel Arrests Palestinian Governor of Jerusalem Israel has arrested the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, over "illegal" activities and put him behind bars once again. Ghaith was arrested by Israel at least six times last year and seven times in the last eighteen months.
Briefly Detained PA Minister Forced to Wear Contaminated Mask Minister of Health Mai al-Kaileh confirmed today that Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Fadi al-Hidmi, who was detained for a few hours yesterday by Israeli Occupation Forces, was forced to wear a face mask contaminated with blood during his brief detention.
As Palestinians Fight Corona, Israeli Soldiers Spit at Doors of Vehicles And Houses in Village Israeli soldiers on 6 April dumped contaminated trash and spat on doors of vehicles and homes in the southern West Bank town of Beit Ummar. Local activist Muhammad Awad reported to WAFA News that a large army contingent broke into Beit Ummar, throwing contaminated material, trash, and used needles and gloves around the village while they spat on doors and vehicles.
Rights Groups Call on Israel to Halt Aerial Herbicide Spraying in Gaza Strip Amid Coronavirus Outbreak Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel sent an urgent letter to Israeli authorities yesterday demanding an immediate halt to Israel’s aerial herbicide spraying in the eastern Gaza Strip as Palestinians in Gaza desperately fight to keep coronavirus at bay and prevent its outbreak into the wider population.
East Jerusalem Worries of Healthcare Collapse Over Coronavirus As the highly contagious coronavirus continues to spread, Palestinian health officials in occupied East Jerusalem are warning the medical system will "collapse" if an outbreak occurs because of a shortage of resources and a lack of qualified staff.
Palestinians Brace For a Coronavirus Outbreak As Workers Return Thousands of Palestinian workers are set to return to the West Bank from Israel around the Jewish Passover holiday. For weeks, Palestinian officials have issued warnings that workers travelling back and forth between Israel, its settlements and their homes could fuel a larger outbreak.
Premier Orders Further Movement Restrictions to Fight COVID-19 Outbreak Under the new restrictions, approved during a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office with the heads of the security forces and the ministers of health and labor in Ramallah, people will only be allowed to move within their communities for urgent matters from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. In addition, all exempted life-saving facilities like bakeries and grocery stores will be shut down after 5:00 pm every day but with the exception of pharmacies.
President Extends State of Emergency Over Coronavirus President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree on Friday extending the state of emergency for a month amidst a rise in coronavirus cases in the occupied territories. Official data indicates that there are around forty-five thousand workers still inside Israel or the Israeli colonial settlements in the West Bank.
Al-Quds University Produces a Highly-needed Ventilator For the Coronavirus Outbreak Al-Quds University’s president, Imad Abu Kishek, announced that his university succeeded in producing a fully computerized ventilator capable of saving lives and providing a viable alternative to the shortage in Palestine and beyond. Made out of the incredibly limited material available to Palestinian manufacturers, the prototype was approved on 1 April after passing a rigorous set of testing.
After Weeks of Ignoring Its Palestinian Citizens, Israel to Step Up Testing in Arab Towns Israel is expected to ramp up its efforts to test for the coronavirus inside its Palestinian communities, after widespread outcry from rights groups condemning the government for ignoring the country’s Arab population amid the global pandemic.
‘We have nobody but ourselves’: Palestinians in Israel Unite to Combat Coronavirus With clear neglect on the part of the Israeli government, the crisis of COVID-19 has inspired cooperation and solidarity among Palestinian citizens, who make up twenty percent of the population. Political activists as well as private citizens are enlisting to fight the virus and its impact on society—from donation drives, to online therapy sessions, to virtual skill-sharing classes.
888 Palestinians Released From Quarantine in Gaza Some 888 Palestinians have been released from quarantine in Gaza after twenty-one days, the spokesperson of the strip’s Ministry of Health said yesterday. Speaking during a press conference, Ashraf al-Qudra said the government is monitoring the implementation of a number of measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Israel Imposes Complete Shutdown Ahead of Passover The Israeli Cabinet tightened restrictions to contain spread of the coronavirus ahead of Jewish holiday of Passover which begins on 9 April, Anadolu Agency reports. Authorities said police will start observing the measures, including a ban of gatherings and preserving safe social distances.
Gaza Builds a Bridge to Safety From Coronavirus Palestinians in Gaza have launched a new sterilization process for fresh fruit and vegetables in an effort to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. The process is mobile, powered by batteries to avoid continuous power failures in Gaza, and can be rolled out to other industries.
5.8 million US $ from the World Bank to Help Palestinians Fight Coronavirus Outbreak A new emergency operation West Bank and Gaza COVID-19 Emergency Response was approved today by the World Bank to help the West Bank and Gaza address. The operation will support efforts to slow down and limit the transmission of COVID-19 and improve the clinical care and case management of those affected by the disease.
Americans Are Calling on the Trump Administration to Support the Palestinian Health Sector Activists supporting the Palestinian cause and Palestinian organizations in the United States have launched a campaign a few days ago to collect ten thousand signatures on the petition to release previously approved seventy-five million dollars in medical aid to the Palestinians that was allocated by Congress for fiscal year 2020 and which the US administration refuses to release.
Irish Lawmaker Denounces Israel’s Continued Gaza Blockade And Occupation With Pandemic Irish Sinn Fein Member of the Legislative Assembly, Declan Kearney, denounced the ongoing Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip and its occupation of the West Bank as the Palestinian Authority battles the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Covid19.
Over 130 American Jewish Leaders Urge Israel’s Blue/White Party to Oppose West Bank Annexation More than 130 American Jewish leaders have joined Israel Policy Forum in telling Benny Gantz, Israel’s Blue/White party leader, and Gabi Ashkenazi, proposed by Gantz to be the next defense minister, to oppose unilateral West Bank annexation.
Netanyahu’s Embrace of Bolsonaro Echoes Hidden History of Israeli Support for Authoritarians in Brazil, Cables Reveal Ever since Jair Bolsonaro’s election as president of Brazil in October 2018, the State of Israel has been counted as one of the most enthusiastic supporters of this extreme right-wing politician. Documents from the Foreign Ministry in the Israeli State Archives that have been revealed in the last few weeks show that the main left opponents to Bolsonaro were marked as enemies of the State of Israel already thirty-five years ago.
US Supplies Israel Army 1m Masks to Use Against Coronavirus In spite of shortages in protective equipment including face masks in the United States, putting both health workers and patients at risk, the Department of Defense has supplied the Israeli army with up to one million masks in an effort to help in its fight against coronavirus.
Settlers and Illegal Settlements
Report: Settlements a Major Source of Corona Outbreak in Palestine The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements stated in its latest weekly report that settlements have become a source of coronavirus infection to the Palestinian workers, who were left without testing by Israel. Settlers have not been subject to the same restrictions on movement as Palestinians and their access to Palestinian spaces represent a distinct health risk.
Israeli Forces, Settlers Prevent Farmers From Accessing Lands Israeli Occupation Forces and extremist settlers today prevented Palestinian farmers from accessing their lands in the village of Tuqu', southeast of the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, according to sources.
Israeli Settlers Flood Sewage Into Farming Lands Near Hebron Mohammad Awad, a local activist, told WAFA that extremist settlers from Gush Etzion settlement bloc, located near the town, flooded their sewage into the grape-planted farms with the aim of damaging crops.
Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinian Family in the Occupied Part of Hebron A group of Israeli settlers attacked today a Palestinian home in the occupied part of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, according to the house owner Zaidan Sharabati. He told WAFA that the settlers sneaked onto the roof of the house where he and his brother and their families live, under Israeli army protection, damaged the rooftop water tanks and removed a Palestinian flag and raised an Israeli flag in its place.
Water Authority Warns Settlement Wastewater Exposes Palestinians to Coronavirus PWA said that several pieces of research conducted in the United States, the Netherlands and Sweden, as well as a recent study conducted by the Netherlands National Institute of Public Health and Environment, prove the presence of the new COVID-19 virus in wastewater, and therefore, Israeli settlement wastewater exposes Palestinians to the risk of contracting the disease, especially in light of the high number of cases in Israel and its illegal settlements.
Settler Violence Against Palestinians Spikes with COVID-19 Pandemic, UN Says Settler and Jewish extremist violence against West Bank Palestinians has spiked by seventy-eight percent during the last two weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic when compared to the rest of this year, the United Nations has reported. It attributed this to access restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.
Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Movement
Jewish National Fund Joins Campaign to Quash Palestine Advocacy in the U.S. Two organizations with close ties to the Israeli government have teamed up on a federal lawsuit targeting the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, one of the leading Palestine advocacy groups in the United States. The civil lawsuit, which marks an escalation of the Israeli-led campaign against global Palestinian rights activism, was filed by the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF, often referred to simply as JNF), the quasi-public body that owns thirteen percent of state land in Israel and holds significant sway within Israeli land bodies.
Dozens of Palestinian Detainees on Hunger Strike Over Israel’s Deliberate Neglect Amid Pandemic Dozens of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have gone on an open-ended hunger strike to denounce Tel Aviv’s deliberate neglecting of their peers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a report says. The Israel Prison Service intentionally endangers the lives of Palestinian inmates by removing cleaning products from prisons’ canteens and refusing to disinfect the prison cells or even conducting any tests on prisoners suspected of carrying the new coronavirus, said the Palestine Information Center in a report on Sunday.
On the Occasion of Palestinian Child Day, Group Says Israel Holding Some 200 Children Israel is holding in detention some two hundred Palestinian children, today said Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Palestinian Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Commission, on the eve of the Palestinian Child Day, which coincides on 5 April of every year.
European Officials Call to Release Prisoners in the Middle East Over Coronavirus Pandemic Ten members of parliament from various European countries such as Sweden, Denmark, and the United Kingdom have called on governments of the Middle East to release prisoners of conscience, where thousands of political prisoners are held in countries such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
Environment, Economy, and Other
COVID-19: Israel to Produce Special Masks to Accommodate Beards Israelis who keep beards for religious reasons will get the option of custom-made face masks to protect them from the coronavirus rather than being asked to shave, a government official said on Monday. Many of the country's Jews and Muslims, and some Christian religious leaders, wear beards as a mark of faith, and the government order to cover mouths and noses last week raised questions as to how facial hair would be accommodated.
Why Are pro-Israel Advocates “helping” Gaza Fight COVID-19? In this piece by Hamza Abu Eltarabesh, attention is brought to the pro-Israel evangelical Christian organization Friend Ships, which is currently helping personal protective equipment to Gaza. Abu Eltarabesh recounts Friend Ships’ support for the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the support of settlers, as well as the discovery in 2018 that Israeli special forces had infiltrated Gaza under the cover of an international aid group.