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The politics of coronavirus: A timeline of public health actions in Israel/Palestine

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Welcome to the Health and Human Rights Media Watch of Jewish Voice for Peace. This month Media Watch is going to be largely focused on the Coronavirus and its impact on Israel/Palestine. We are sharing pertinent articles as a timeline, rather than by region, because the virus knows no boundaries and we thought it would be useful for you to see the pandemic unfold in real time, the facts, fears, confusion, and analysis. (If you want to be involved in this JVP Health Advisory Council Media Watch project, please contact author Alice Rothchild at contact.alicerothchild@gmail.com.)

In honor of Dr. Fauci and fellow scientists and with a special thank you to the Lancet: New England Journal of Medicine New England Journal of Medicine The Lancet The Lancet

As of March 27, numbers of Covid 19 cases (as best I can figure out) in the region:

Israel: 2693
West Bank: 82
Gaza: 9

Timeline

March 1 – Israel
Investment in health, transportation and education had been declining since the 1970s, when critics say Israel began to prioritize tax cuts, welfare for ultra-Orthodox Jews who study in religious institutions rather than work, and expanding settlements in the West Bank. The 1970s looks like a crucial pivot point. The system now suffers from neoliberal policies and long standing neglect (and with hindsight, was ill prepared for the pandemic that was about to hit -AR). New York Times

March 4 – Gaza
Ramzy Baroud wrote a very prescient essay. While the coronavirus entered the West Bank between February 8-15, the worst of fates awaits Gaza, should the deadly and fast-spreading virus find its way through the hermetic siege, which engulfs this minuscule, but densely populated region. Common Dreams

March 8 – Israel
Shocking those aware of officials’ opinion on coronavirus, Prime Minister Netanyahu pulled back on requiring Israelis returning from US to self-quarantine, and political considerations may have had a role. Haaretz

March 9 – West Bank
15 American tourists and fellow Palestinians were unexpectedly quarantined in the Angel Hotel, Bethlehem. Local Palestinian restaurants and residents flooded the hotel with medical supplies, personal hygiene products, and most importantly, food, an act of solidarity and generosity. Middle East Eye

March 9 – West Bank & Israel
West Bank cases: 25, Israel: 42. The spread of the coronavirus to Gaza would be catastrophic and “many will die,” an official with Gaza’s health ministry said. Nearly half of essential medicines in Gaza, which has been under a severe Israeli blockade since 2007, are stocked at less than a one-month supply or are completely depleted. “Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth, our health system is on its knees already. If we have just one case it will be transmitted rapidly. Gaza’s health ministry has encouraged travelers returning from Egypt and Israel to self-isolate, “but we cannot enforce it.” The head of the WHO office in Gaza said that there are just 50 test kits for the coronavirus in the territory and enough protective gear for 100 medical professionals to treat patients who test positive. A large number of cases would contribute to the “collapse” of Gaza’s health system, the official warned. Electronic Intifada

March 10 – Israel
Another sign that political considerations had begun to play a role in the restrictions was the fact that the large number of Israelis returning from the AIPAC convention in Washington D.C. were not being required to self-quarantine, even after the finding that three people at the conference – which was attended by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and a long list of Senators and Congressmembers – had been diagnosed with the virus. Haaretz

March 10 – Israel
Israel is failing to provide essential real-time coronavirus updates and public health information in Arabic for Palestinian citizens of Israel who make up roughly a fifth of the country’s total population. Ongoing coronavirus updates on the Israeli Health Ministry’s website are being issued only in Hebrew; Arabic-language updates are issued only after significant delays, and the ministry’s social media posts and smartphone app are accessible only in Hebrew. Adalah

March 10 – West Bank
250 Jewish settlers held a Purim parade in Hebron’s city center as Palestinians were placed under lockdown. “Although we’ve had tourists from all kinds of places, the coronavirus did not make it to Hebron,” said Baruch Marzel, a prominent extreme-right activist and resident of the city who wore a “Make Hebron Great Again” hat to the parade. “Hebron is a strong and holy city for the Jews where our ancestors protect us, while in Bethlehem, which is holy to Christianity, corona is having a field day,” Marzel added. +972

March 10 – West Bank
With 29 cases in Palestine, government steps up efforts to contain coronavirus. 2,900 Palestinians were being held in self-quarantine — six of them in Jerusalem, and 605 people in Gaza who had recently returned from performing the Umrah pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. In Bethlehem, schools, universities, banks, and government offices have remained closed, as well as hotels, restaurants, and dozens of souvenir shops across the city and these efforts are spreading across the West Bank. Mondoweiss

March 11 – West Bank
Israel responded to the Coronavirus cases in Bethlehem by putting the city in full military closure. Three days later, anyone who had been to Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour was required to self-quarantine for two weeks. Similar instructions for closure and quarantine were not imposed upon Jewish neighborhoods in the Bethlehem area such as Gilo or Har Homa. Visitors to Rachel’s Tomb were also not required to quarantine. Moreover, residents of Ashkelon, Jerusalem, Ariel, and Petah Tikvah — all cities with confirmed COVID-19 cases — have neither been placed under wide-ranging military enclosure, nor under quarantine (except for those currently sick). What is hard to do to Israelis is seemingly easy to do to millions of Palestinians living under the plague of Israeli occupation. +972

March 11 – West Bank and Israel
World Health Organization reports 30 cases in the West Bank, 29 in Bethlehem and one in Tulkarem. Israeli health ministry reports almost 100 cases. The Palestinian Authority declared a state of emergency one week ago and Israel is shutting down air travel and plans extensive closure of Gaza. Palestinian human rights groups have pointed to the discriminatory response to the coronavirus by Israel and the huge risks to Gaza. Electronic Intifada

March 11 – Occupied territories & Israel
COVID-19 erupting in the Hamas-controlled, Israeli-blockaded enclave is seen by the Israeli defense establishment as a ‘God-help-us’ scenario. The coronavirus outbreak puts Israel in a delicate position regarding the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The epidemic crosses borders and fences, but for now the intensive battle against the virus has contributed to the relative calm on the security front and has even led to close cooperation between the two sides. The big test will come in the next few days, when Israel will have to decide whether to lengthen the full closure that has been imposed on the territories for Purim. Haaretz

March 11 – Gaza
Israel is due to impose an extensive closure on movement of people to and from the Gaza Strip in response to Coronavirus concerns on March 12. Exit from Gaza will be similarly limited to patients seeking urgent medical treatment and their companions, Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, Palestinian West Bank residents seeking to return to the West Bank, “exceptional humanitarian cases,” and foreign nationals. Gisha

March 12 – West Bank
A week after the Palestinian Authority declared a state of emergency and strict closures following a coronavirus outbreak in Bethlehem, the mood in Nablus has been more sullen. Traffic, business and tourism are down, workers feel the drop in income, and the population is fearful. Haaretz

March 12 – Gaza
Even a small outbreak among Gaza’s densely-packed, blockaded population would put an impossible strain on a healthcare system already teetering on the verge of collapse. If you’re locked in a cage, you are protected – but, simultaneously, you are also at much greater risk of being acutely affected. The United Nations has said that the health care in Gaza is at “breaking point.” In the case of a coronavirus outbreak in Gaza, the likelihood of exit permits for medical care being rejected is therefore high, particularly if Israel is struggling with its own outbreak. Haaretz

March 12 – Gaza
A writer from We Are Not Numbers talks about living under an involuntary quarantine for over a decade with a decaying health care system. He states that more than ever, people around the world should empathize with the Palestinians in Gaza. European cities are being placed on lockdown, following the footsteps of China, Iran, Korea, and other nations. Canada Talks Israel Palestine

March 13 – Israel
Palestinian inmates fear for their lives in filthy and crowded Israeli jails. Lack of hygiene products and packed cells leave prisoners fearing continued policy of ‘deliberate medical negligence’. Several cases are suspected and prisoners have been placed in quarantine. Middle East Eye

March 14 – West Bank & Israel
World Health Organization reports 35 cases in the West Bank. Israel (which is listed in the “European region”!) reports 100 cases. World Health Organization

March 16 – West Bank & Israel
The West Bank reports 39 cases and Israel, 255. Palestinian officials took wide-ranging steps declaring a month-long state of emergency including closing schools and religious sites, and sharp restrictions on tourism. In the city of Bethlehem, the epicenter of the outbreak in the West Bank, Palestinian and Israeli officials began a lockdown on March 5, preventing entry and exit. Refugee camps are disinfecting. Mondoweiss

March 16 – West Bank & Israel
Israel has 277 cases of CV. With 39 confirmed cases in Palestine, the Palestinian Authority is struggling to cope with the pandemic with its limited resources and weak healthcare system. 37 of the victims were infected after a 51-member Greek religious tourist group, one from an Israeli businessman, and one from a medical school in Poland. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, exposed the Palestinian government’s vulnerabilities caused by the conflict with Israel, which retains strict military control over the Palestinian territories. While Palestinian Authority and Israel have a high level of coordination at the moment in order to contain the coronavirus, Israel is still refusing to release funds it deducts from taxing Palestinians. The money is desperately needed to increase the authority’s ability to combat the disease. About 400,000 Palestinian workers from the West Bank travel to Israel daily and pose a serious risk of carrying an infection back from Israel. Aljazeera

March 17 – Gaza
Hamas and the civil authorities in Gaza have already taken precautions, including closing the Erez crossing to Israel to entry and exit. Palestinians who have entered the Strip since the outbreak of the virus in Israel have been placed in isolation in temporary housing in the area of the crossings. Over the past few days the Gaza Health Ministry has begun putting up a field hospital at the Rafah crossing. 63 Gazans are now in quarantine in these buildings, and according to the Gaza Health Ministry 2,667 people are in home isolation. All schools and universities are to remain closed until the end of March, and gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited. The authorities have recommended that older people avoid crowds in enclosed spaces, including mosques. Haaretz

March 18 – Israel
To track coronavirus, Israel moves to tap secret trove of cellphone data. The information, intended for use in counterterrorism, would help identify people who have crossed paths with known patients. Disclosure of the plan raised alarms among privacy advocates and among critics of Mr. Netanyahu. He also authorized prison sentences of up to six months for anyone breaching isolation orders; barring visitors, including lawyers, from prison and detention facilities and allowing the police to break up gatherings — as of now, more than 10 people — by means including “the use of reasonable force.” New York Times

March 19 – Occupied territories
Defense for Children International – Palestine demands the release of all Palestinian child detainees to protect them from the spread of COVID-19. Defense of Children International Palestine

March 20 – Lebanon
Palestinian refugees, who have been living in Lebanon for decades yet remain without rights, are not clear about what actions are being taken to protect and support their communities. In a recent interview, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) stated that an emergency room has been set up for Palestinians. It hasn’t, however, shared any information about an actual response plan beyond “awareness” campaigns. Awareness can be helpful but not necessarily effective to people who have no access to healthcare, or the right to access healthcare. Moreover, the Lebanese Red Cross recently refused to transfer a patient from a refugee camp to the Rafik Hariri University Hospital, causing more anxiety amid camps residents. Open Democracy

March 20 – US, Israel, and Palestine
Webinar done by JVP Health Advisory Council members summarizes the issues in the US, a report from the frontlines of hospital care, and an overview of status in I/P. Cases reported by 3/19: Israel: 677, West Bank: 47 and Gaza: 0. https://youtu.be/HMI8AL4LntY

March 21 – Israel
Israel reported 883 confirmed coronavirus cases, with the vast majority of them mild, and its first fatality in an 88 year old Holocaust survivor. Haaretz

March 21 – Israel & Palestine
The coronavirus has imposed an unofficial cease-fire on the Gaza Strip. Israel has a supreme interest in ensuring that the disease doesn’t hit Gaza, whose isolation from the world seems to be protecting it for now. At the same time, an agreement has been forged in relative silence between Israel and the PA over the entry of workers from the West Bank into Israel. About 70,000 workers from the West Bank employed in construction, agriculture and key factories have entered Israel for two months and will be lodged at their workplaces under the responsibility of their employers. Another 10,000 Palestinians will come to work in the settlements. It is assumed that thousands more will work illegally in Arab towns inside Israel. Gazans will no longer be allowed into Israel. Netanyahu flails and the military moves forward. Haaretz

March 22 – Gaza, West Bank, and Israel
First two CV viruses reported in Gaza. Both patients were transferred to a field hospital in Gaza’s southernmost city, Rafah, where preparations for potential coronavirus cases have been made. All those who came into contact with the patients have been placed in compulsory quarantine. West Bank cases are 57 and approximately 1,000 in Israel. Electronic Intifada

March 22 – Israel
Will years of neglect lead to the collapse of Israel’s healthcare system, which was, for years, among the best in the world? How will Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s anti-democratic measures impact on an already illiberal democracy? Cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians is at its tightest ever been. How will that play out? Haaretz

March 22 – Occupied Territories
On World Water Day, March 22, Al-Haq drew continued attention to the deadly consequences of the apartheid water restrictions in the occupied Palestinian territories during the pandemic. Al Haq

March 22 – Gaza
Fears rise as 2 cases diagnosed in Gaza. UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory, said he was “particularly worried” about COVID-19 reaching Gaza, where the healthcare system “was collapsing even before the pandemic.” “Its stocks of essential drugs are chronically low,”…Its natural sources of drinkable water are largely contaminated. Its electrical system provides sporadic power. Deep poverty amid appalling socio-economic conditions is prevalent throughout the Strip.” Mondoweiss

March 22 – Gaza
Gaza’s healthcare system is not equipped for a COVID-19 breakout. It has a total number of 2,895 hospital beds, or 1.3 beds per thousand people. It has just 50 to 60 ventilators for adults. More than 35,000 Palestinians have left the strip since 2018 alone, among them dozens of doctors and nurses. With an average of 6,028 persons per square kilometer, Gaza has one of the highest population densities in the world. Gaza’s eight refugee camps have even higher population densities. Take Jabalia, where more than 140,000 Palestinian refugees live in an area of 1.4 square kilometers, or about 82,000 persons per square kilometer. Gaza’s problem is not a lack of humanitarian aid, as urgent as it may be. It is territorial, demographic, and political. +972

March 23 – Occupied Territories
The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council appealed to the diplomatic community in Palestine and the International Committee of the Red Cross to ensure the health and safety of Palestinian prisoners during the COVID-19 pandemic, with special attention to children, chronically ill, and other vulnerable people. Al Haq

March 23 – Gaza
Gaza reports first two cases of Covid 19. While the blockade may have cut off Gaza from the pandemic, or at best delayed its entry, it is also blamed for what could be a catastrophic outbreak if the virus spreads and a crushing blow to an already damaged health care system. The Guardian

March 23 – Gaza
Medical and human rights organizations call on Israel to lift its blockade of the Strip to boost supplies of medical equipment and protective gear. The response to the virus is dependent on Israeli control of border crossings. “In light of the ongoing siege, Israel is responsible by virtue of international law to provide the required means to the Health Ministry in Gaza.” Officials said that the Strip has only 70 intensive care hospital beds and that its hospitals are not well-equipped with disinfectant or with masks or protective suits for medical personnel. Haaretz

March 23 – Israel/Palestine and international update
1,238 Israelis have tested positive, with vast majority of cases mild and 37 recoveries. One patient has died and 18 are in serious condition. In the West Bank, 57 cases have been diagnosed so far, and 17 have recovered, the majority of them in Bethlehem. The Palestinian prime minister ordered a lockdown. In Gaza, two cases were diagnosed in patients who returned from Pakistan. Haaretz

March 23 – Israel, Palestine
Bypassing the necessary approval from the Knesset, the Israeli government approved the tracking of cellphones by the Shin Bet security service in order to inform people who unwittingly came in contact with confirmed coronavirus patients. 1,238 Israelis have so far tested positive for the coronavirus, with the vast majority of cases mild and 37 recoveries. One patient has died and 18 are in serious condition. In the West Bank, 57 cases have been diagnosed so far, and 17 have recovered, the majority of them in Bethlehem. The Palestinian prime minister ordered a lockdown as of Sunday night. In Gaza, two cases were diagnosed in patients who returned from Pakistan. Middle East Eye

March 23 – Gaza
While only two well-quarantined cases of Covid-19 have been reported, authorities worry that virus could have devastating impact on blockaded enclave. The ministry has reported a 45 % shortage of medical supplies in Gaza since the start of the Israeli blockade. While the WHO was providing some supplies to doctors in Gaza in anticipation of coronavirus cases, it was not enough to deal with a potential outbreak. “[WHO] offers devices to collect samples, but not to examine it…Israel, on the other hand, supplies Gaza with materials that only suffice to collect 200 samples… The samples are then examined at one of the Health Ministry-affiliated centres at al-Remal Center in west of Gaza.” The possibility of Covid-19 entering Gaza has reportedly become a source of concern even for Israeli forces. When will Israel take responsibility? Haaretz

March 24 – Gaza
A podcast produced by Electronic Intifada (Gaza Physicians Brace for Impact) is available documenting the lack of basic capacity for stemming COVID-19 in the occupied territories. Two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed so far in GAZA, and Palestinians in the West Bank are on lockdown. The occupation has created a perfect storm for the pandemic, decimating health services and preventing access to supplies. Electronic Intifada

March 24 – Gaza
Palestinian Center for Human Rights warns that Gaza’s healthcare system would collapse in case of Coronavirus outbreak. Ministry of Health announced its urgent need for respirators, intensive care units and equipment, medicines, medical consumables and protective gear to prepare it to combat Coronavirus. MOH’s appeal came after the Israeli authorities allowed the entry of limited quantities of medical supplies into the Gaza Strip on 18 March, including 200 tests for diagnosing Coronavirus, hundreds of protective gowns and goggles for the protection of medical personnel, upon a request Submitted by the World Health Organization (WHO). Palestinian Center for Human Rights

March 24 – Gaza
Gazan teachers are using radio and social media to teach students remotely. https://youtu.be/wOecGMy6tio

March 24 – Middle East and North Africa
Several countries in the MENA region have overstretched health systems and infrastructures, some of which have also been considerably weakened by years of armed conflict. In these countries, prisons and detention facilities are often overcrowded, unsanitary, and suffer from a lack of resources; accordingly, detainees are routinely denied proper access to medical care. These challenges are only further exacerbated during a health emergency, subjecting detainees and prisoners to heightened risk and placing weak prison health infrastructures under immense stress. Moreover, individuals in detention regularly interact with prison wardens, police officers, and health professionals who engage with the general population. Failure to protect prisoners and prison staff from COVID-19 may have negative implications for the population more broadly.

Under international human rights law, every individual has the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States have an obligation to guarantee realization of this right. Mezan, Mezan

March 24 – Gaza
Coronavirus in Gaza: Just 40 ICU beds for two million people under siege.[Opinion piece by David Hearst] Israel should be told to lift the siege on Gaza or suffer the consequences of sanctions and isolation itself. Middle East Eye

March 25 – West Bank
The Palestinians reported their first death from the coronavirus, a woman in her 60s from Bidu, a Palestinian village north of Jerusalem and southwest of Ramallah, Melhem added. There are 62 confirmed coronavirus cases among Palestinians in the West Bank, and two in the Gaza Strip. Reuters

March 26 – Gaza
The besieged Gaza Strip recorded seven new coronavirus cases, while 15 new cases were confirmed in the occupied West Bank, health officials said. Gaza’s health ministry said the new infections are of people who contracted the virus after being in contact with the first two Covid-19 cases registered in the strip. Middle East Eye

March 26 – Occupied territories and Iran
This virus knows no boundaries and the people in charge need to listen to and share scientific data, take advice from other countries, mobilize industries to produce the products we need, and plan on an international scale how to limit the viral spread and distribute needed resources. Basic to that is lifting the sanctions on Iran and the siege of Gaza in the name humanity and decency. This is not a war; it is a medical and public health emergency on a global scale. Mondoweiss

March 27 – Occupied territories
[Opinion piece by Fareed Taamallah] Palestinians are trapped between the pandemic and Israel’s brutal military occupation. Middle East Eye

March 27 – Occupied territories and international
As coronavirus cases steadily increase in the Palestinian territories, activists and civil rights organisations will be holding an online rally on Monday 3/30 to highlight the threat posed to the two million Palestinians stuck in the strip. The BDS National Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace and three others said they would be holding an online rally and Twitterstorm, because street protests could be a potential breeding ground for the virus. Middle East Eye

Local stories of resilience

March 20 – West Bank
Union of Agricultural Work Committees team started a campaign to support remote communities in the West Bank, by holding individual sessions to educate farmers about prevention measures to be followed in their farms and households. Various educational leaflets and sterile materials were distributed. Union of Agricultural Committees

March 23 – Hebron
Owner of a shoe factory in Hebron, Amjad Zaghir, quickly understood the need for face masks in the West bank and immediately began to manufacture masks. Within three weeks, his factory was producing thousands of badly needed masks a day. +972

Local stories of injustice

March 10 – Israel
Although 20 percent of the total population of Israel is Palestinian, the Israeli Ministry of Health has not been disseminating Arabic-language updates or critical health information in Arabic to its citizens. Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, demanded on March 9 that messages be made available in Arabic immediately. Adalah

March 20 – Israel & US
The crisis has enabled militarization that brushes aside the usual relationship between guardians and civil liberties. In Israel, the clearest form of this can be seen in the militarization of the medical situation and its relationship to the digital and algorithmic surveillance systems. We are seeing new uses of the infrastructure of smart cities—the license plate readers, the monitoring of traffic. This, of course, allows the government to control and monitor the flow of traffic in and out of areas of the West Bank, and is now being used to contain the virus in areas of the assumed outbreak within Palestinian cities. That relationship between surveillance and bordering is just one of the ways in which the crisis has been militarized. Jewish Currents

March 20 – Gaza
The interruption of life, career, work, and studies, putting them into a temporary halt is the reality of the daily lives of Palestinians in Gaza since 2006. However, outside the Gaza strip, there is always a government and institutions that could make life easier, provide services, health care, and economic support, while in Gaza, that is a daydream. In reality, the only event that the people in Gaza talk about is when the next war is, and not when the lockdown will be lifted. Mondoweiss

March 23 – Israel
In a brutal act of inhumanity, the Israeli employer of a Palestinian laborer who was showing signs of illness called upon authorities to dump him on the ground on the West Bank side of the Beit Sira checkpoint. The Covid-19 test of the man later came back negative. Middle East Eye, Haaretz

March 24 – Israel
As the number of infections and deaths from COVID-19 multiply by the day, there have been increasing calls across the world for people to show solidarity and care for each other. Yet for the Israeli government, there is no such thing as solidarity. Aljazeera

March 26 – Occupied territories and Iran
This virus knows no boundaries and the people in charge need to listen to and share scientific data, take advice from other countries, mobilize industries to produce the products we need, and plan on an international scale how to limit the viral spread and distribute needed resources. Basic to that is lifting the sanctions on Iran and the siege of Gaza in the name humanity and decency. This is not a war; it is a medical and public health emergency on a global scale. Mondoweiss

And the Occupation continues…

Gaza

Nine people died and 54 were injured, 15 of them seriously, in a gas explosion at a bakery in Nusairat refugee camp in Gaza on March 6. United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which operates a health center, three schools, and a distribution center in Nusairat, declared the tragedy an outcome of the occupation and the lack of basic safety measures in refugee camps. UNRWA

“42 Knees in One Day”: Israeli Snipers Open Up About Shooting Gaza Protesters. Over 200 Palestinians were killed and nearly 8,000 were injured during almost two years of weekly protests at the Israel-Gaza border. Israeli army snipers tell their stories. Haaretz

The Israeli Army Doesn’t Have Snipers on the Gaza Border. It Has Hunters. In the Gaza Strip there are 8,000 permanently disabled young men as a result of the snipers’ actions. Some are leg amputees, and the shooters are very proud of that. None of the snipers interviewed for Hilo Glazer’s frightening story in Haaretz (March 6) has any regrets. Haaretz

A YouTube summary on Gaza and the polluted undrinkable water and the health risks, as well as potential local solutions, and the larger issue of the Israeli siege. Middle East Eye

West Bank

On March 11, 15-year-old Mohammad Abed Al-Rahim Hamayel was shot in the head with live ammunition and killed by Israeli forces near Nablus in the West Bank as soldiers accompanied Israeli settlers and clashed with villagers, injuring many others. Defense of Children International Palestine

Israel

The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has adopted a “policy of deliberate medical neglect against prisoners and detainees,” since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967.

222 Palestinian prisoners have died in Israeli custody since 1967, 67 of whom died owing to medical negligence. Five Palestinians died in Israeli custody in 2019. There are currently about 750 sick Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody, including 26 women and about 160 men who are in critical need of constant medical care. The most serious cases involve prisoners suffering from cancer. Electronic Intifada

Gazan Girl Fighting Cancer Died Without Her Father by Her Side. Miral, a 10-year-old Gazan cancer patient who had to fight bureaucracy to have her mother by her side in a Nablus hospital, died last weekend without seeing her father since December. Now Israel is keeping another young Palestinian, who has leukemia, from receiving vital treatment. This is due to endless, evil bureaucratic obstacles heaped up by the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. COGAT apparently ignores the fact that these are life-and-death cases involving children with cancer. They also forget that the idea is to transfer the youngsters to Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem or the West Bank – not to Israel. Haaretz

United States

Congresswoman Betty McCollum is not backing down from her criticism of AIPAC. After issuing a daring statement lambasting the pro-Israel group, the US legislator vowed to continue advocating for the human rights of Palestinian children and push against attempts to silence her. Middle East Eye

The government of Belgium caved in to intense Israeli government pressure and effectively disinvited Brad Parker from Defense for Children International Palestine from briefing the UN Security Council in New York. Belgium’s acquiescence to Israel’s demands is a frustrating and devastating blow. Not only is it a shameful act of censorship, but it also boosts longstanding efforts to delegitimize human rights work and basic tenets of international law when it comes to Palestinians. +972

This post first appeared on the Jewish Voice for Peace site two days ago.

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Thank you
It’s definitely too much to read in one sitting
Of course, in my part of California where we only have one “official” language, all covid-19 info is offered simultaneously in both English and our unofficial second language, Spanish. We love our
Spanish-speaking neighbors. And many of us also speak Spanish.