for our work to continue.

General Conference

United Methodists are responding to Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth ,a statement of faith and urgent call to action from Christians in Palestine.  UMKR seeks, through nonviolent means and in partnership with Palestinian Christians, freedom, justice and equality for all Palestinians and Israelis.

UMKR needs your support

General Conference 2020 has been

scheduled for Aug-Sept 2021. Our justice legislation is still vital & needs

YOUR support!  LEARN MORE:

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​​​​​​News & Commentary
COVID-19 in

Israel/Palestine:

AUGUST 2020

An Appeal from UMKR


UMKR has important church legislation for our denomination's global General Conference, to be held in 2021. These resolutions address:

protecting Palestinian children,
defending the right to boycott,
divesting from the bonds of occupation governments, and other timely justice issues.


We also have BIG PLANS for educating

A LOT of people throughout our church about Palestinian rights, with literature, displays, speakers, meals, and witness actions!


With very limited resources, UMKR has made a BIG  impact in the global United Methodist Church! Groundbreaking divestment and boycott actions by the UMC would never have happened without UMKR's advocacy AND all the extraordinary partners and allies who helped us.


General Conference is always our BEST OPPORTUNITY to make a worldwide impactfor Palestinian rights throughout our denomination.


But, if we are to succeed in advocating for justice with thousands of United Methodists who come to General Conference from four continents, WE NEED YOUR HELP!


Click the green button and take action now:






Please give as generously as you can, and

know that whatever you are able to give

will be greatly appreciated.

SEE MORE:
• 
OCTOBER 2020
• 
SEPTEMBER 2020

Leaders Show Cautious Optimism as Virus Numbers Remain Stagnant
Ynet News  •  2 August 2020
Prime Minister Netanyahu, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, and coronavirus taskforce chief Prof. Ronni Gamzu convened a press conference on Sunday, showing cautious optimism as the number of daily coronavirus infections across Israel stabilized in recent weeks. Gamzu said that the government will not hurry to lift any restrictions on the economy until daily coronavirus infections will have dropped. "We won't be hasty. We want to form adequate enforcement and the rules to be clear this time," said Gamzu. "Don't push us with this, it would be easier for us to lift restrictions when the curb starts to flatten.

Health minister says Israel has ‘stopped the rise in infections’
Times of Israel  •  2 August 2020
At press conference, Edelstein encouraged by declining infection rate; virus czar urges ultra-Orthodox community to heed rules; PM says vaccine prospects ‘encouraging'


The people that Covid-19 has cut off from home
The Guardian  •  3 August 2020

“Covid-19 has caused havoc with the travel plans of millions across the world, ruining holidays and testing long-distance relationships. But for many people who are still unable to get back to their home countries, such problems seem trivial by comparison. Chinese students, Mongolian tourists, Palestinians from Gaza and many others have all found themselves unable to return home, often meaning separation from close family, economic hardship and uncertainty about the future.”

When Covid Subsided, Israel Reopened Its Schools. It Didn’t Go Well.
New York Times  •  4 August 2020

“As the United States and other countries anxiously consider how to reopen schools, Israel, one of the first countries to do so, illustrates the dangers of moving too precipitously. Confident it had beaten the coronavirus and desperate to reboot a devastated economy, the Israeli government invited the entire student body back in late May. Within days, infections were reported at a Jerusalem high school, which quickly mushroomed into the largest outbreak in a single school in Israel, possibly the world. The virus rippled out to the students’ homes and then to other schools and neighborhoods, ultimately infecting hundreds of students, teachers and relatives.”

‘I’ve no idea how we’ll survive’: Pandemic pushes Palestinians into poverty
+972 Magazine  •  5 August 2020

“There are currently 8,465 COVID-19 cases in the West Bank, according to the PA. Eighty-four people have died so far, 50 of them in Hebron…“The situation is worse than anyone can say,” he says. “There’s no tourism — not from abroad, not domestically, nor from Palestinians in Israel. Most hotels have fired almost all their staff.” Ishaq says that of the more than 28,000 people who work in tourism in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, over 95 percent are currently unemployed. “Some have become street vendors, others are trying to secure permits to work on construction sites in Israel, and others are looking for work inside the West Bank,” he notes. Ishaq adds that former tourism employees are subsisting on a bare minimum of water, rice, vegetables, and bread, and many students have had to interrupt their studies because they can’t afford tuition. The PA is also struggling to provide for everyone who requires support — its list of needy families has doubled since the start of the pandemic, Ishaq says.”

Netanyahu’s Failure in Fighting Corona is ‘Poetic Justice’
Jerusalem Post  •  5 August 2020

Prime Minister Netanyahu deserves all the blame for Israel’s dire situation in the coronavirus crisis because he claims sole credit for Israel’s successes, opposition leader Yair Lapid said in the Knesset. Lapid called the situation “a kind of poetic justice,” because Netanyahu took credit for all of Israel’s successes. “I manage everything, success is mine alone. Me, me, me, me, me. And so now – this failure is only yours... It’s you. You, you, you, you, you.” The opposition leader warned Netanyahu’s days as prime minister are coming to an end. Even Netanyahu, a “master of spin... can’t convince unemployed people they have a job,” Lapid added. The remarks came as part of a “40 signatures debate,” which means Netanyahu had to sit in the plenum as opposition MKs gave speeches against him, and then could give a response.
See also:
‘‘Bennett Tells Netanyahu, Government: You Are Killing the People of Israel’’
Jerusalem Post  •  5 August 2020


East Jerusalem buckles under virus’s 2nd wave, while largely ignored by Israel
The Times of Israel  •  6 August 2020

““Things are absolutely out of control here,” Fouad Abu Hamid, director of a clinic in East Jerusalem’s Beit Safafa neighborhood, warned in an interview last week. The number of new cases is increasing even as the total number of tests is going down. Augusta Victoria Hospital director Walid Nammour said this could mean that large numbers of cases are going undetected. Most East Jerusalem Palestinians are permanent residents of Israel but not citizens. Their blue residency cards entitle them to membership in one of Israel’s four health maintenance organizations and to National Insurance, although government accountability reports have found that a complex and opaque system sometimes blocks them from actually accessing state benefits. Still, by the end of the first wave of coronavirus in the Palestinian territories, East Jerusalem seemed largely untouched, thanks to an exceptional degree of coordination between the Jerusalem municipality and local Palestinian groups to fight the virus. The municipality opened an East Jerusalem command center in City Hall, directed by the IDF Home Front Command, while local coronavirus committees were formed to track the situation in each of East Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods. The city, in coordination with local councils, distributed hundreds of meals to families during Ramadan…But the second wave has seen far less coordination with local Palestinian authorities, according to Nammour. Lion’s weekly meetings with East Jerusalem health officials ceased with the end of the first wave and have yet to resume — even as the situation grows more dire by the day.”

Thousands Attend ultra-Orthodox Wedding in Jerusalem, Violating
Coronavirus Orders

Haaretz  •  6 August 2020

“Thousands began arriving at the hall in the afternoon hours through the back entrance of the venue in Jerusalem, most of whom not wearing protective face masks. Police officers kept their distance from the hall throughout the entire event.”

Jerusalem mayor: Anti-Netanyahu protests more dangerous than huge

Haredi wedding
Times of Israel  •  6 August 2020

“Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion on Thursday pushed back against criticism of a mass Hasidic wedding, claiming the weekly protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the capital constituted a more grave health violation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He spoke a day after thousands of people attended a wedding for the grandson of the leader of the Belz Hasidic sect in Jerusalem. Under the existing government rules, weddings are capped at 20 people outdoors, while protests are exempt from limitations though social distancing must be observed. “We must enforce the rules. But it isn’t fair. Every Thursday and Saturday there are more serious violations. Is the entire area of Balfour [the street Netanyahu lives on in the Rehavia neighborhood] free of coronavirus? When it comes to a Haredi area, there are headlines and photos right way. I certainly don’t support it, but let’s not enforce things selectively,” Lion told the Kan public broadcaster.

1,751 new virus cases found in 24 hours as death toll climbs to 569
Times of Israel  •  6 August 2020

“The government decided on Wednesday to cancel weekend closures on shopping centers, stores and markets that had been implemented to stymie the spread of the coronavirus, after establishing that the regulations weren’t driving down COVID-19 infection rates. The so-called coronavirus cabinet announced the move, which will take effect this weekend, after an hours-long meeting that also saw ministers agree to work to resume air travel in 11 days, and lift restrictions on recreational activities in public parks. But the official tasked with handling the virus response warned the country could yet see a nationwide lockdown in two weeks’ time if infection rates — currently holding at around 2,000 daily — don’t drop.”

Israel has world’s highest per capita COVID-19 morbidity rate, virus czar says
Times of Israel  •  6 August 2020

“It was unclear what data the health official tasked with overseeing Israel’s response to the virus was basing this assessment on, and whether he was referring to the overall rate or the rate of increase in recent weeks. According to various global rankings, including Worldometer, Israel ranks 16th to 19th in terms of cases per million people — behind the US, Gulf states, and some Latin American countries — with all cases since the start of the pandemic tallied.”

Palestinian child detainee tests positive for COVID-19 in Israeli prison
Defense for Children International - Palestine  •  6 August 2020

“A Palestinian child prisoner detained by Israeli forces in late July has tested positive for COVID-19, the first known case involving a Palestinian child detainee confirmed by Defense for Children International – Palestine. Israeli forces detained the 15-year-old Palestinian boy* around 4 am on July 23 from his home in Al Jalazoun refugee camp located north of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. He was transferred to Israel’s Shikma prison, located inside Israel in Ashkelon, for interrogation, according to Iyad Misk, a DCIP lawyer. Israeli authorities postponed his interrogation after he tested positive for COVID-19. “

Woman, 57, victim number 93 from coronavirus in Palestine
Wafa  •  6 August 2020

“A woman, identified as 57-years-old from Nablus in the north of the West Bank, has died today of coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Health. It said that with her death, total corona-related fatalities in Palestine have reached 93, among them 89 in the West Bank, three in East Jerusalem, and one in the Gaza Strip, since the outbreak of the disease in March.

Israel's skies to partially reopen August 16
Globes  •  6 August 2020

“Israel’s skies will partially reopen on August 16, the coronavirus cabinet decided last night. From that date Israelis returning home from ‘green’ countries with low infection rates will not be required to undergo 14 days self-isolation. However, it remains unclear what constitutes a ‘green’ country and whether foreign passport holders from those countries will be allowed into Israel.”

Israel to cut virus isolation to 12 days but keep phone tracking
Ynet  •  6 August 2020

“The ministerial committee, which deals with overseeing the usefulness of Shin Bet’s tracking of COVID-19 carriers as part of the fight against the outbreak, is expected to recommend the government shortens the isolation period for people who came in contact with patients, Ynet learned on Thursday.”

Thousands of Palestinians Flock to Israeli Beaches
Jerusalem Post  •  8 August 2020

Thousands of Palestinians entered Israel through border crossings that were temporarily and unexpectedly opened in the northern West Bank. Palestinian officials said they were surprised by Israel’s decision to open the crossings and expressed fear that the move would lead to an increase in the number of Palestinians diagnosed with COVID-19. Buses belonging to Arab-Israeli companies that waited for them on the Israeli side of the crossings took them to a number of cities, including Netanya, Haifa, Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Tiberias. The Tulkarm-based Al-Fajer TV station published photos of Palestinians freely crossing the border and enjoying their time on Israeli beaches. Some Palestinians claimed that the move was intended to boost the Israeli economy. Others wondered why the Palestinian Authority did not try to prevent Palestinians from crossing into Israel. Palestinians who want to enter Israel are often required to obtain entry permits from Israeli authorities.

Coronavirus Spares Gaza, but Travel Restrictions Do Not
New York Times  •  8 August 2020

The blockaded Gaza Strip has not recorded any cases of community transmission of the coronavirus, but new restrictions on movement continue to make life difficult.
“The blockaded Gaza Strip might be one of the only places in the world where no cases of community transmission of the coronavirus have been recorded — an achievement attributed to the coastal enclave’s isolation as well as swift measures taken by its militant Hamas rulers.
The pandemic, however, hasn’t left Gaza untouched.
Citing the need to combat the virus, the various governmental authorities controlling the borders of Gaza have imposed new restrictions on movement outside the territory. That has exacerbated an already challenging situation for Palestinians who say they urgently need to travel to Israel and the West Bank, as well as for those wishing to escape the bleak economic reality by emigrating by way of Egypt.”

With PA Coordination Halted, Sick Gazans Still Have No Mechanism
to
Enter Israel’’

Times of Israel  •  9 August 2020

Two and a half months after the Palestinian Authority stopped coordinating the exit of residents of the Gaza Strip to Israel or the West Bank on humanitarian grounds, there is still no functioning alternative mechanism to quickly facilitate treatment for urgent medical cases, a report said Thursday.

Coronavirus: Largest Palestinian hospital in Jerusalem faces closure
Middle East Eye  •  11 August 2020

“…due to a myriad of factors, including Covid-19 related closures and a halt in security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), patients from these areas who normally need an Israeli army-issued medical permit to access Jerusalem have been unable to reach the hospital. Izz al-Din Hussein, the head of the hospital and the department of internal medicine and cardiology told Middle East Eye that the hospital’s debts amount to some 160 million shekels ($47m).  About 60 million shekels ($18m) of these debts are owed to the hospital by the Palestinian health ministry, which covers patient referrals from the West Bank and Gaza. The hospital also owes some $20m to medical supply companies, and about $9m in taxes, Israeli health insurance and bank loans.”

Government extends cellular tracking of citizens
Israel Hayom  •  11 August 2020

“In a vote via telephone, government ministers on Tuesday approved the extension of the controversial measure that allows the Shin Bet security agency to track Israelis’ whereabouts as part of the coronavirus contact tracing effort. The electronic surveillance is carried out via cellphone triangulation technology. The current extension is to last another three weeks. Last month, the Knesset plenum, passed legislation to allow the Shin Bet to assist in the national effort to reduce to spread of the coronavirus, sparking debate about the possible infringement of privacy.”

Coronavirus czar warns of imminent closures
Ynet  •  11 August 2020

“Coronavirus taskforce chief Prof. Ronni Gamzu warned during a debriefing on Tuesday that general lockdown may be imminent due to a drop in the number of Israelis getting tested for the virus, and the public’s failure to adhere to regulations. Coronavirus taskforce chief Prof. Ronni Gamzu warned during a debriefing on Tuesday that general lockdown may be imminent due to a drop in the number of Israelis getting tested for the virus, and the public’s failure to adhere to regulations.”

Coronavirus Death Toll Climbs to 633 Since Outbreak
I24 News  •  12 August 2020

Israel registered eight more COVID-19 deaths, raising death toll to 633 since the outbreak of the disease, Health Ministry data showed. 1,785 coronavirus cases were recorded, out of 25,472 screening tests conducted in 24 hours. Since the first case detected in February, Israel has registered 87,173 virus infections, remarkably surpassing China’s official of total confirmed cases of less than 25,000. There are currently 379 COVID-19 patients in serious condition, including 109 on an artificial respirator, 160 individuals in moderate condition and, in total, 24,963 active cases in the country. With current morbidity rates in the country remaining unchanged for the best part of two months, Israel's opening of the new school year on September 1 has been cast in doubt.

Israeli Women Excluded from Decision-Making on Coronavirus
Al-Monitor  •  12 August 2020

The government decided July 26 to reduce the coronavirus Cabinet — a small forum of ministers whose portfolios touch on the coronavirus outbreak — from 16 to 10 members. Two weeks later, on Aug. 10, the government decided to add members to this Cabinet again. The special forum now includes two of the ministers who had been excluded in July — Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman and Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen. Thus, the change in number brought also another change: The coronavirus Cabinet now includes one female member.

Palestine records 499 coronavirus cases, 364 recovery cases
Wafa  •  12 August 2020

“Palestine today recorded 499 new novel coronavirus cases and 346 recovery cases in the last 24 hours. Health Minister Mai al-Kaileh announced that among the 499 new confirmed cases, 140 cases were recorded in Hebron district, four others in Nablus district, 32 others in Bethlehem district and 23 others in Qalqilia district.”

Palestinians face growing wave of corona cases
Jerusalem Post  •  12 August 2020

“Health officials say there are several reasons that Hebron has been the focus of the pandemic, including the fact that many residents of Hebron work in Israel…The situation is complicated further by the fact that the West Bank is divided into three parts: Areas A, B, and C. In Area C, which makes up 60 percent of the West Bank, and where all of the Jewish settlers live, Israel maintains complete control. There are up to 300,000 Palestinians living in Area C, who have not had access to adequate health care because of the pandemic. “The West Bank has been under military occupation and the health care system does not have the necessary infrastructure or human capacity to really address a huge surge in COVID-19 cases,” says Aisha Mansour, the director of Medical Aid to the Palestinians (MAP). “For now, the number of cases that require critical care are a small number of cases, but should they rise it could be catastrophic.” Like in Israel, there has been growing dissatisfaction with the way the Palestinian Authority has handled the pandemic.”

Israel sees 11 dead 1,875 new confirmed coronavirus cases since Tuesday
Ynet  •  12 August 2020

“There are 375 people in serious condition, 110 of them on ventilators while new cases indicate 6.7% of 26,360 tests conducted found positive; Gamzu warns crowded gatherings must stop or lock-down inevitable”

In deadliest day since start of pandemic, 17 succumb to virus in 24 hours
The Times of Israel  •  12 August 2020

“Israel recorded 15 deaths on August 3, the previous high. There have been around 10 fatalities a day since mid-July, as the second wave of the virus has showed few signs of slowing down. On Tuesday, Israel surpassed China in total number of cases since the pandemic began. Coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu earlier on Wednesday visited the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem, which has been operating above capacity amid an influx of coronavirus patients. During his visit, Gamzu pledged to push for greater funding for the Jerusalem hospital.”

COVID-19 Surges in East Jerusalem, Gamzu Says May Be No Other Choice
but Lockdown

Haaretz  •  13 August 2020

“The Home Front Command and the Jerusalem Municipality say that links between East Jerusalem and the West Bank are contributing to the spiking infection rates. A source in city hall said local Palestinian families have recently held weddings in the West Bank to bypass the prohibition on large gatherings in Jerusalem. A Home Front Command representative at the meeting proposed closing the crossings between Israel and the West Bank. The city says that mass prayers on Fridays on Temple Mount are contributing to the growing number of infections.”

Health chief predicts decline in COVID-19 cases in two weeks
The Times of Israel  •  13 August 2020

“Levy’s statement came as the National Security Council was reportedly pushing for further restrictions to be imposed to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and a day after Israel appeared to mark its deadliest day since the start of the pandemic. According to a report from Army Radio, the NSC warned the government that if further steps to impose restrictions were not taken immediately, the country could soon see hundreds of patients in serious condition, with the health system unable to cope. The outlet reported that the message was sent to ministers although the Health Ministry does not currently have plans to recommend further restrictions.”

Eight-year-old child in West Bank dies after contracting coronavirus

– Health Ministry
Wafa News  •  13 August 2020

“An eight-year-old child from the town of Idna, in the southern West Bank Hebron district, has died last night after contracting coronavirus, said the Ministry of Health. It said the boy was suffering from asthma and congenital heart defects.”

Outrage as virus czar likens Arab Israeli infection rates to a ‘terror attack’
Times of Israel  •  16 August 2020

“Sparking outrage, Israel’s coronavirus czar, Ronni Gamzu, said on Sunday that the country’s Arab community had carried out ‘almost a terror attack’ with behavior that he warned would result in hundreds of people becoming sick with COVID-19. ‘The Arab community has committed in the past fortnight, since Eid al-Adha, almost a terror attack, with hundreds of sick people,’ Gamzu said in an interview with the Ynet news site.”
See also:
Gamzu sorry for saying COVID-19 in Arab sector like a ‘terrorist attack’

UAE, Israeli firms sign agreement on coronavirus R&D
Al Jazeera  •  16 August 2020

The Emirati APEX National Investment company has signed a "strategic commercial agreement" with Israel's Tera Group to cooperate on research and development related to COVID-19, including a testing device, UAE state news agency WAM reported.
The deal "is considered the first business to inaugurate trade, economy and effective partnerships between the Emirati and Israeli business sectors, for the benefit of serving humanity by strengthening research and studies on the novel Coronavirus", WAM quoted APEX's chairman Khalifa Yousef Khoury as saying.


Coronavirus Israel: Active Cases Top 22,000

Haaretz  •  23 August 2020
No decision on new lockdown before September 10 ■ Confirmed cases pass 100,000 ■ Passengers returning from 'green' countries no longer have to self-isolate ■ Israeli Arab panel reports 1,600 new cases in a week


Gaza declares lockdown after first cases of community coronavirus spread
YNet News  •  24 August 2020

“Officials in the Gaza Strip on Monday evening declared a full lockdown for the first time after the Hamas-run Health Ministry announced the first cases of community spread of coronavirus. Until now, all the cases reported in Gaza were linked to quarantine facilities for residents returning from abroad.The Health Ministry said four people from the same family have tested positive for the virus in central Gaza and investigations were underway to track the source of the infection. A full lockdown was imposed on the al-Maghazi refugee camp, where the family lives. The Hamas-run government announced 48-hour curfew in the entire territory, closing businesses, schools, mosques and cafes. The discovery of the local cases comes despite months of strict efforts taken to prevent community transmission.Starting on March 15, Hamas imposed mandatory isolation for 21 days at designated quarantine centers for all those returning to the Strip by the way of Israel and Egypt.”

Local virus cases in Gaza raise fears of a wider outbreak
Associated Press  •  24 August 2020

Authorities in the Gaza Strip on Monday announced the first coronavirus cases spread through the community, raising fears of a potentially devastating outbreak in the impoverished Palestinian territory blockaded by Israel and Egypt.
Until now, all the cases reported in Gaza were linked to quarantine facilities for residents returning from abroad.

Gaza sees first COVID-19 cases outside of quarantine facilities
The Times of Israel  •  24 August 2020

Health authorities in Hamas-run Strip announce strict 48-hour lockdown as 4 cases identified in refugee camp, raising specter of community spread after virus kept at bay for months

IDF continues retaliatory strikes on Hamas as Gaza enters COVID-19 lockdown

Jewish News Syndicate  •  25 August 2020
“The Israeli Defense Forces struck Hamas installations in Gaza, following another day of cross-border arson attacks from the Hamas-ruled enclave, the IDF said in a statement on Tuesday. According to the statement, IDF jets and tanks hit Hamas ‘military positions and underground infrastructure,’ in response to ‘incendiary and explosive balloon’ attacks on southern Israel on Monday, which Israel’s Fire and Rescue Service said ignited dozens of fires in open fields.” Also see: YNet: IDF pounds Hamas targets as incendiary balloons continue to terrorize Israeli border towns; Israel Hayom: Israel-Gaza tensions simmer as arson terrorism persists; Times of Israel – IDF strikes Hamas targets in southern Gaza after continued arson balloon attacks; Al Jazeera – Hamas: Gaza will not ‘remain silent’ as Israel escalates siege.


Gazans Await More Qatari Aid Amid Worsening Electricity Shortages,
Coronavirus Outbreak

Haaretz  •  24 August 2020

“Gazans are expecting the arrival of a Qatari envoy and the funds  they hope he is bringing to the impoverished Hamas-controlled enclave that has recently seen power cuts and several new coronavirus cases. According to reports from Gaza, Mohammed al-Emadi is due to arrive in the Strip on Tuesday. It was not clear whether, as in the past, he would be coming with suitcases full of cash, or if the Qatari funds would be distributed to Gazans by bank transfer or via post office branches. A Hamas source told Haaretz it also wasn’t certain how much money he would be coming with and whether the funds would be directed solely to needy families – at $100 each to between 100,000 and 120,000 families – or if it would also go to support other humanitarian projects.”

Gaza declares lockdown after first cases of community coronavirus spread

YNet News  •  24 August 2020
“Officials in the Gaza Strip on Monday evening declared a full lockdown for the first time after the Hamas-run Health Ministry announced the first cases of community spread of coronavirus. Until now, all the cases reported in Gaza were linked to quarantine facilities for residents returning from abroad.The Health Ministry said four people from the same family have tested positive for the virus in central Gaza and investigations were underway to track the source of the infection. A full lockdown was imposed on the al-Maghazi refugee camp, where the family lives. The Hamas-run government announced 48-hour curfew in the entire territory, closing businesses, schools, mosques and cafes. The discovery of the local cases comes despite months of strict efforts taken to prevent community transmission.Starting on March 15, Hamas imposed mandatory isolation for 21 days at designated quarantine centers for all those returning to the Strip by the way of Israel and Egypt.”


Privatization of Israel's Coronavirus Fight Leads to Questionable Contracts,
Higher Prices

Haaretz  •  25 August 2020

“The government committee that awards exemptions for competitive bidding was told by Orit Efrati-Lev, the Health Ministry’s head of procurement, that J&K was chosen because it “has rich experience in logistics.”Although the company’s website says its managers do have 20 years of experience managing big systems in Israel and Hungary, according to the Companies Registry, J&K was only formed last year. Its CEO, Noam Yaacov, was a career army officer whose last role was coordinating procurement for military intelligence with the Defense Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office.”


Second Coronavirus Death in Gaza as Authorities Clamp Down on Outbreak
Haaretz  •  26 August 2020

“Monday’s cases were uncovered after a woman traveled to the West Bank, where she tested positive, the Gaza Health Ministry said. A ministry spokesman urged everyone who might have visited a supermarket outside a hospital in central Gaza to quarantine themselves and report to medics immediately.”

‘Panic and fear’ in Gaza as new virus cases lead to lockdown, first death
The Times of Israel  •  26 August 2020

“Cases have appeared in different regions, and Hamas officials have said that some are unrelated to one another. This could be evidence of community spread — infections appearing without a clear chain of transmission — which would mean that many cases are going undetected. Hamas officials have not released information about the level of testing for the virus in the Strip.”

China provides COVID-19 supplies and 50,000 Health Packages to help UNRWA protect Palestine refugee
WAFA  •  26 August 2020

“The Government of the People’s Republic of China made a vital contribution of personal protective equipment including surgical masks, protective face masks, sterilized surgical gloves, medical eye covers, medical protective smocks and face shields to assist Palestine refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), today said a press release. This donation will enable UNRWA to better safeguard Palestine refugees from COVID-19 in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria with industry-standard safety equipment, it explained.”

One in Five Businesses in Israel Likely to Fail by Year's End
i24 News  •  27 August 2020

An ominous report published by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics predicts that one in five businesses are not likely to survive past December due to the damage inflicted on the economy caused by the pandemic. The report also noted that 79% of businesses have seen a severe drop in revenue amounting to 25% in losses in August alone. The data reveals that 11.5% of the country's workers have lost their jobs since the crisis began in March. An additional 6.4% of the nation's workforce is currently on unpaid leave – amounting to some 850,000 people who are unemployed. Meanwhile, Israel's Employment Service is forecasting that the unemployment rate will rise to approximately 500,000 people by the end of the year. This new gov’t estimate is 3 times higher than what had been anticipated before the unexpected breakout of COVID-19.

Gaza's Coronavirus Outbreak Won't Change Israel's Carrot-and-stick Method

Haaretz  •  26 August 2020
“Instead of strategy accepting Hamas will stay in power, Israel has taken a confused line – accusing group of holding Gazans hostage, while also imposing economic sanctions.”
Gaza fears the worst as Israel ratchets up its siege, Al Jazeera
“Fears are mounting for the safety of people with health issues as already-strained hospitals are largely without power and the Palestinian territory faces a coronavirus outbreak. Two million residents are surviving on only four hours of electricity a day after Israel cut off the fuel supply, leading to the shut down of Gaza’s sole power plant last week.”

Hamas extends Gaza’s coronavirus lockdown amid growing fears of outbreak
Times of Israel  •  27 August 2020

“Health authorities in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip will extend its coronavirus lockdown for another 72 hours amid growing fears of an outbreak in the territory. This week saw Gaza’s first infections outside of quarantine facilities. A wider outbreak could overwhelm the ailing health care system in the densely populated Strip, which is home to some 2 million Palestinians. Hamas, the terrorist group that controls the enclave, announced a 48-hour curfew on Tuesday after finding four cases. On Wednesday, the number of confirmed cases rose to 60, and three people died of the virus.”

Gaza Demands Medical Equipment From Israel as Coronavirus Lockdown Extended
Haaretz  •  27 August 2020

Gaza will remain in lockdown at least until Sunday, health officials said on Wednesday after reporting two deaths and 26 COVID-19 cases in the first public outbreak of the coronavirus in the blockaded Palestinian enclave.
Palestinian factions issued a statement holding Israel responsible for the health of Gaza residents and demanded it lift the blockade and provide the Strip with medical and humanitarian supplies.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

TIMELINE FOR COVID-19 IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE
from Jewish Voice for Peace:
https://www.jvphealth.org/covid-19