UMKR needs your support
- 1 or 2 per month –
join our mailing list!
🔶 New or Recently Updated
EU gives PA $11.6m to pay salaries, pensions of workers in West Bank
Middle East Monitor. •. 2 November 2020
“As part of its global response to the coronavirus outbreak, the European Union (EU) donated €10 million ($11.6 million) to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Office of the EU Representative said yesterday. The support will enable the PA to meet its commitments towards the September payments of Palestinian civil servants’ salaries and pensions in the occupied West Bank. The EU said in a statement that this contribution is a clear message of the EU’s strong commitment to the Palestinian people at this critical time.”
Palestinians Hit by COVID-19, but They Have Greater Things to Worry About
Haaretz • 2 November 2020
West Bank and Gaza residents have chalked up relatively low rates of illness and death, hence the noticeable complacency. But the toll the pandemic and Israel's tough policies is taking on their pockets seems incurable
Dozens of Palestinian prisoners in Israel test positive for COVID-19
Al-Monitor • 3 November 2020
Dozens of Palestinian prisoners have contracted coronavirus inside an Israeli-run prison, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs said. More than 80 prisoners have tested positive for the coronavirus at Gilboa prison in central Israel, which houses some 360 Palestinian detainees, the committee added. The Israeli Prison Service has canceled prison visits in response to the outbreak and announced plans to move the infected prisoners to the Tzalmon detention center in the Galilee. Haaretz reported that the prison service said at least 56 prisoners had tested positive. Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem blamed the outbreak of coronavirus on Israel’s "deliberate medical negligence.” A Hamas source that spoke to the Palestinian Al Quds newspaper said the militant group “would not remain silent” if prisoners were further exposed to the virus. The ward where the infections emerged was used mostly for Hamas suspects. According to the outlet, the prisoners claim they were infected by one of the wardens.
Also See: Covid-19: Scores of Palestinian prisoners infected (Middle East Eye)
Adalah calls for action as 69 Palestinians confirmed infected with COVID-19 in Israel’s Gilboa prison
WAFA • 8 November 2020
“In response to news reports indicating that 69 Palestinians held by Israel in just one prison have been infected with COVID-19, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel sent an urgent letter to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) on 5 November demanding it acts immediately to halt the spread of the virus and to protect Palestinian prisoners. On 2 November, an IPS spokeswoman revealed that 11 prisoners held in Gilboa prison and classified by Israel as “security prisoners” had tested positive for COVID-19. The next day, 54 more prisoners were confirmed infected, and then another four more, bringing a total of 69 infected prisoners. This figure constitutes around 76 percent of the population of the wing in question and 15 percent of the total population of 450 “security prisoners” in Gilboa.”
Saeb Erekat, Palestinian negotiator, dies at 65 from COVID-19
Jerusalem Post • 10 November 2020
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, died on Tuesday from complications of COVID-19 at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he was being treated since his condition deteriorated in mid-October. He was 65.
Erekat first came into prominence in 1991, when he was appointed deputy head of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Peace Conference. He was one of the few local Palestinian leaders who had never spent a day in an Israeli prison.
Born in 1955 in Abu Dis, south of Jerusalem, Erekat later played an active role in the peace talks with Israel in 1992 and 1993, when Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords. After the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, former PLO leader Yasser Arafat appointed Erekat as head of the Palestinian negotiating team with Israel.
Saeb Erekat, Veteran Palestinian Negotiator, Dies of COVID
Ynet News • 10 November 2020
Veteran Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat died aged 65 after developing complications from coronavirus. Erekat was in critical condition on a ventilator at Hadassah University Hospital at Ein Kerem since being admitted to the Israeli hospital mid-October. The hospital said last month that the treatment for Erekat was a "huge challenge" due to his lung transplant in 2017, saying he also had a "weakened immune system and bacterial infection" as well as suffering from coronavirus. His Fatah party announced his death in a statement. A relative and a Palestinian official confirmed he passed away, speaking on condition of anonymity out of privacy concerns. The American-educated Erekat was involved in nearly every round of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians going back to the landmark Madrid conference in 1991.
Palestinians declare three days of mourning for Saeb Erekat
Jerusalem Post • 10 November 2020
"The departure of the brother and the friend, the great fighter Saeb Erekat, represents a big loss for Palestine and for our people," said Abbas.
See also: Israeli and world leaders eulogize the chief Palestinian negotiator.
Occupation in the Time of COVID-19: Holding Israel Accountable for Palestinian Health
Al-Shabaka • 15 November 2020
“This policy brief addresses three ways that the legal framework of occupation as defined by international humanitarian law (IHL) has failed the provision of public health to Palestinians in the time of COVID-19. Firstly, it explores the active and passive “de-development” of the Palestinian health system prior to the pandemic. Secondly, it examines the ways in which Israel has not fulfilled its legal obligations towards the Palestinians regarding COVID-19. And finally, it analyzes the ways in which the occupation has worsened the health situation by restricting Palestinian initiatives. Although IHL is arguably limited in protecting the rights of oppressed populations, this brief uses IHL language to hold Israel accountable for Palestinian public health. In doing so, it argues that even by the imperfect standards agreed upon by the international community, Israel is not fulfilling its minimum legal duties as an occupying power in this time of public health crisis. By failing to meet these obligations, Israel has actively contributed to the deterioration of Palestinians’ health and well-being. The brief proposes several policy recommendations to address the crisis of Palestinian health during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
UNRWA chief fears ‘disaster’ in Gaza, ‘insecurity’ in Lebanon amid cash crunch
The Times of Israel • 16 November 2020
“Last week, Lazzarini announced that UNRWA faced a $70 million funding shortfall that has jeopardized its ability to pay staff full salaries in November and December. The shortfall affects 28,000 staffers across the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Jordan. The situation is particularly critical in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave of two million people where the unemployment rate is over 50 percent and where the novel coronavirus crisis has led authorities to slash public sector salaries.”
Anti-Netanyahu Protesters Rally Across Israel
Times of Israel • 19 November 2020
Protests against Prime Minister Netanyahu were held across Israel as part of ongoing demonstrations over his indictment on graft charges and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Protesters carried large inflatable balloons in the shape of submarines, referring to a major corruption scandal involving the purchase of naval vessels that ensnared several close associates of Netanyahu, but not the prime minister himself. Demonstrators have been holding regular protests against Netanyahu, demanding he resign over his trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Netanyahu denies wrongdoing and claims the indictments are part of an effort by political rivals, the media, police and prosecutors to remove him from office.
See also: IMF Urges Israel Government to Promptly Pass 2021 Budget (Times of Israel)
Palestinians Are Concerned as West Bank and Gaza Hit COVID-19 Records
Haaretz • 19 November 2020
“Amid 1,068 new daily cases – the highest number yet – the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are making do in part with a lockdown of institutions and businesses that violate health restrictions.”
Rights group: Israel excluding at-risk Arab communities from emergency COVID-19 food security aid
WAFA • 19 November 2020
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel has sent an urgent letter to Israel’s interior minister demanding he revokes a policy that excludes at-risk populations – notably Bedouin citizens of Israel living in unrecognized villages in the Naqab – from receiving COVID-19 food security grants. Adalah said in a press statement that the Israeli policy makes receipt of COVID-19 food security grants – essentially, food stamps – conditional upon one’s determined eligibility for municipal property tax rebates. Thus, this leaves citizens who live in unrecognized communities which do not fall under any municipal jurisdiction unable to obtain food assistance.
Palestine records highest daily Covid-19 infections
WAFA • 20 November 2020
Palestine today recorded 1,472 Covid-19 cases and eight fatalities, the highest single-day rise since the pandemic outbreak in March….Among the new 1,472 cases, 111 cases were recorded in Hebron governorate, 200 in Nablus, 108 in Bethlehem, 18 in Qalqilia, 36 in Ramallah and al-Bireh, 110 in Jenin, 11 in Jericho and the Jordan Valley, 15 in Salfit, 47 in Tulkarem, 44 in Tubas, 754 in the Gaza Strip and 18 in Jerusalem suburbs.
Nearly half of new coronavirus cases among Israeli Arabs
YNet News • 19 November 2020
Nearly half of the new coronavirus cases detected in the past week have come from the Arab sector, the National Security Council said on Thursday, indicating a 6.5% positivity rate.
Gaza warns hospitals reaching Covid-19 breaking point
Middle East Eye • 22 November 2020
“Gaza’s health system could be overwhelmed by next week because of a surge in coronavirus cases, health advisers warned on Sunday. The blockaded territory has almost run out of ventilators and could have no space in intensive-care units in 10 days’ time, said Abdelraouf Elmanama, a microbiologist who is part of the enclave’s pandemic task force. “In 10 days the health system will become unable to absorb such a hike in cases and there might be cases that will not find a place at intensive-care units,” he said, adding that the current 0.05 percent mortality rate among Covid-19 patients could rise.”
Gaza declares COVID-19 disaster with health system near collapse
Al Jazeera • 23 November 2020
“A rapid rise in coronavirus infections in the Gaza Strip has reached a “catastrophic stage”, with the blockaded Palestinian enclave’s medical system likely to collapse soon, health officials warn. COVID is spreading exponentially in Gaza – one of the most crowded places on Earth – especially in refugee camps, and the health ministry has warned of “disastrous” implications.”
Gaza warns hospitals reaching Covid-19 breaking point” (Middle East Eye)
Gaza’s health system days from being overwhelmed by COVID-19 (Jerusalem Post)
Arab Towns Account for 45 Percent of Israel's COVID-19 Cases, and Rising
Haaretz • 23 November 2020
Nearly half – 45 percent – of active coronavirus cases in Israel are in Arab communities, Health Ministry data show, and that number is rising. The figure was cited by the Arab Emergency Committee, an organization established several months ago to curb the spread of the pandemic in the country’s Arab communities. Last week 2,168 new cases were confirmed. These figures do not include mixed (Arab and Jewish) towns, though Arabs are believed to account for many of the cases in these communities too.
Palestine records highest daily Covid-19 infections with 1,946 cases
WAFA • 24 November 2020
Palestine today recorded 1,946 new Covid-19 cases and 17 fatalities, according to Health Minister Mai al-Kaileh. Al-Kaileh announced that 1,946 Palestinians tested positive for the novel coronavirus and 17 others died of it in the occupied territories.
Hamas Threatens Israel as Gaza COVID-19 Cases Surge
Jerusalem Post • 24 November 2020
Following a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the Gaza Strip, Hamas and other Palestinian factions accused Israel of “preventing” the entry of medical supplies to confront the pandemic. The factions said they hold Israel “responsible for the repercussions of preventing” the entry of the supplies into the Gaza Strip. The warning came as the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry announced the death of three Palestinians who were diagnosed with the coronavirus in the past 24 hours. The ministry said 685 new cases were detected in the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours. According to the ministry, 16,142 coronavirus infections have been detected in the Gaza Strip in the past few months. The number of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who died after contracting the virus has reached 72, the ministry added.
Unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases in the Gaza Strip
Al Mezan • 29 November 2020
“The unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases in Gaza will soon overwhelm the underequipped health sector. Al Mezan warns of a looming catastrophe facing the population in Gaza, and highlights the role of Israel’s closure and punitive measures in disrupting the health sector’s development. Al Mezan calls on the international community to exert pressure on Israel, the occupying power, to lift the blockade and closure, and to urgently mobilize support for residents of the Gaza Strip, including by ramping up supply of medical equipment necessary to fight the pandemic. “
Gaza gets vital medical aid as hospitals struggle with rising infections
Reuters • 29 November 2020
“The World Health Organization delivered 15 ventilators to Gaza hospitals on Sunday amid a spike in COVID-19 infections that has tested the Palestinian territory’s under-developed health system. The donation of the intensive care devices, funded by Kuwait, came a week after local and international public health advisers said hospitals in the enclave could soon become overwhelmed. “These devices will help medical teams provide better service to patients, but it is not enough,” said Abdullatif Alhaj of Gaza’s health ministry. Alhaj said hospitals had suffered acute shortages in oxygen essential in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.”
Also See: Gaza Gets Medical Aid From Kuwait as Hospitals Buckle Under COVID Caseload (Haaretz)
COVID doesn’t differentiate between Jews and Palestinians — both need vaccination
The Palestine Project // Sari Bashi • 29 November 2020
“As long as Israel controls Israel / Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, it must treat equally the 6.5 million Jews and 6.5 million Palestinians living there. The first, immediate step is to purchase millions more vaccine doses. After all, the virus, unlike the Israeli government, does not differentiate between Jews and Palestinians.
News & Commentary
TIMELINE FOR COVID-19 IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE
from Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council: https://www.jvphealth.org/covid-19
for our work to continue.
We need your help. 🙏🏼
With very limited resources, UMKR has made a major impact in the global United Methodist Church.
Groundbreaking divestment and boycott actions by the UMC would never have happened without UMKR's advocacy AND the extraordinary partners and allies who have worked with us and supported our efforts.
Please give as generously as you are able, and know that gifts of every size make a difference.
For News & Alerts