The virus has come back to the West Bank and Gaza with a vengeance. Over 24 hours 272 new cases of the virus have been confirmed in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
Permits for Gaza’s sickest patients to receive treatment in Israel and the West Bank ended abruptly on May 19 when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced an end to coordination with Israel. Since then two infants have died in the Gaza Strip awaiting permits for medical treatment in Israel, a tragedy that Palestinians anxiously fear could expand in the coming weeks.
Due to the Israeli occupation, the inability for Palestinians to deploy medical resources as needed; to properly organize the population per the requirements of social distancing and rational quarantine; and to properly track and test people, will predictably result in excess serious illness and death, above and beyond what might occur in a less obstructed scenario.
Although coronavirus seems to be relatively contained inside the Gaza Strip, the new cases raise the specter for what many of us have known for a long time: trapping millions in close quarters is a death sentence. In this crisis, as many officials reocgnize, incarcerated people should be released.
The Trump administration strategy is to bully Palestinian leadership into submission, from defunding UNRWA, which supplies care to millions of Palestinian refugees, to removing support for a major tertiary care hospital in East Jerusalem.
Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council’s monthly round-up of health in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. This month JVP shares articles on injured children in Gaza, a nurses strike in Israel, Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike who are in solitary confinement and more.