Turkish hospital in Gaza begins operations to curb coronavirus

A Palestinian doctor performs a medical examination to detect Coronavirus Gaza on 10 March 2020 [Ashraf Amra/ApaImages]

A Palestinian doctor performs a medical examination to detect coronavirus in Gaza on 10 March 2020

The Palestine-Turkey Friendship Hospital in the occupied Gaza Strip has started operations in an effort to curb the novel coronavirus, the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s spokesperson announced yesterday.

“The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed in a phone call to start [operating] the hospital in Gaza,” Ibrahim Melhem told reporters in Ramallah.

Melhem thanked the Turkish government and citizens for their “continued support to the Palestinian people.”

The hospital’s construction, which was funded by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) governmental department, was completed in 2017. It is set to be one of the largest hospitals in Palestine built on a total area of 34,800 square metres, consisting of six floors and a capacity of 180 beds.

READ: Turkish firms racing to deliver 5,000 ventilators for coronavirus patients

The PA recently reported 117 coronavirus cases, including 10 in Gaza. The first cases were discovered on 5 March in Bethlehem after a number of Palestinians mixed with Greek tourists, some of whom were found to be infected after returning to their country.

Coronavirus is affecting the whole world, will it unite us - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Gaza’s health system has been badly affected by Israel’s 13-year blockade amid a severe shortage of medicine and medical equipment.

So far, the number of infected worldwide has reached 872,830, more than 43,000 have died, and 184,581 have recovered. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared it a pandemic.

READ: This pandemic is yet another deadly challenge for the people of occupied Palestine

(Source / 01.04.2020) 

UN says Gaza’s ‘fragile’ economy needs support to face coronavirus

UNRWA: 'The worst scenario is the spread of coronavirus in besieged Gaza'

A group of volunteer youth carry out disinfection work during the coronavirus pandemic in Gaza on 29 March 2020

A spokesman for the UN Secretary-General has said that the “fragile” economy in the besieged Gaza Strip was in António Guterres’s mind when he launched an appeal to raise $2 billion to help countries at high risk from the coronavirus pandemic, Al-Quds Al-Arabi has reported.

Stéphane Dujarric made his comment when asked by a journalist about the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially the Gaza Strip. He pointed out that Guterres was speaking at UN headquarters in New York at the launch of a report on the potential socioeconomic impact of the outbreak.

In a brief for the UN Security Council meeting in a video conference on 30 March, the Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process said, “Despite critical interventions to bolster Gaza’s economy and water, energy and health sectors, humanitarian and socioeconomic conditions remain dire.”

The UN, added Nickolay Mladenov, is supporting measures to tackle the spread of COVID-19. “However, Gaza is at particularly high risk for an outbreak given its already failing healthcare system in one of the most densely populated areas of the world.”

UNRWA: ‘The worst scenario is the spread of coronavirus in besieged Gaza’

Access to healthcare in Gaza - [Visualizing Palestine/Twitter]

(Source / 01.04.2020) 

Israel now occupies 85% of historic Palestine

Israeli force block roads in the West Bank on 18 September, 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli force block roads in the West Bank on 18 September 2019

Israel now occupies at least 85 per cent of the total area of historic Palestine, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) has confirmed. The Palestinians control less than 15 per cent under strict Israeli restrictions.

The PCBS issued the details in a report to mark Palestine Land Day on 30 March. It pointed out that Jewish migrants from overseas now account for a third of the population of the colonial-settler state.

According to the report, there were 13 million Palestinians by the end of 2019. Of these, 5 million are in the occupied Palestinian territories while 1,597,000 live in the land occupied since 1948 and are citizens of Israel. Around 6 million Palestinians live in other Arab countries, with 727,000 in the wider diaspora around the world.

READ: Israeli occupation forces demolish Palestinian farm as settler attacks continue

The report explained that the Israeli occupation authorities have used the Oslo division of the Palestinian West Bank into areas A, B and C in order to strengthen their control over the territory. Area C, which makes up 76 per cent of the occupied land, is under Israel’s security and administrative control.

The PCBS pointed out that Israel has demolished 678 Palestinian facilities in the occupied West Bank, including 251 residential buildings. The 600 military checkpoints and barricades at the entrances of Palestinian cities, towns and villages are turning the West Bank into a series of barely connected cantons, it added.

Israel also imposes restrictions or prevents Palestinians from using certain roads in the occupied West Bank in order to give free access to Jewish settlers whose presence in the territory is illegal under international law. Seven streets in the centre of Hebron alone are limited to Jews only in what is traditionally a Palestinian area.

In Gaza, the Israelis have created a buffer zone on the Palestinian side of the nominal border fence. The zone was created on agricultural land which is no longer available for Palestinian farmers to use. Moreover, it takes up an incredible 25 per cent of the total area of the Gaza Strip.

READ: Israel’s illegal occupation exacerbates the coronavirus crisis  

(Source / 01.04.2020)

Palestinian Prisoner in Israeli Jail Contracts Coronavirus

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Committee for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners confirmed on Wednesday, that a Palestinian prisoner has tested positive for Coronavirus.

The announcement came after prisoner, Noureldin Sarsour, a resident of Betunia town, west of Ramallah city, who is incarcerated in division 14 at Ofer Israeli prison, received test results on Tuesday, showing he is positive for the Coronavirus.

In a statement, issued Wednesday, the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners and Ex-prisoners, held Israeli Prisons Authority (IPA), responsible for the newly-discovered Coronavirus case, calling for the protection of all 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in more than 20 Israeli jails.

The statement read that a team of attorneys, belonging to the committee, informed the Israeli authorities in the Ofer prison about the results of the test, and inquired about Sarsour’s recent contact with other prisoners, fearing the spread of the infectious COVID-19 virus.

“The name of Sarsour has been revealed, only after Sarsour himself had permitted the lawyers to do so. Sarsour has asked the committee’s lawyers to inform his fellow prisoners about his newly-discovered case of Coronavirus”, the statement further noted.

Last week, the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners, inside Israeli jails, demanded all relevant international bodies to pressure the Israeli government to apply precautionary measures to protect the 5,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails, including those with chronic diseases, women and minors.

It is worth noting that Cairo-based League of 22 Arab States, recently appealed to all concerned international bodies, to pressure Israel for the protection of Palestinian prisoners, in a time the Coronavirus pandemic, has spread through several countries, including the occupation state of Israel itself, where thousands of cases have been reported.

(Source / 01.04.2020) 

Nablus: A young man died due to his wounds in the events of Jabal Al-Arma

The young Islam Abdel-Ghani Dweikat (23 years), was killed this evening, who was injured in the events of Jabal Al-Arma in the town of Beita, south of Nablus, about 3 weeks ago.

The Ministry of Health confirmed the martyrdom of the young Dwekat, who had been in intensive care at the consulting hospital in Ramallah.

(Source / 01.04.2020)  

Health in Gaza: 100 ventilators and 140 intensive care beds are urgently needed

Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, said that health has intensified epidemiological surveillance and laboratory samples for hosts in quarantine centers, and conducted 830 examinations of suspected cases during the past March, most of which were negative, indicating that the two cases that were announced on Tuesday evening were discovered during the ongoing laboratory examination of the detainees , And did not come into contact with anyone, and did not show any symptoms, so the total number of cases discovered in the Gaza Strip at the moment is 12 cases so far.

Dr. said. The ability in the evening press briefing, today, that the Ministry of Health and government institutions continue their successive precautionary measures to confront the new Corona virus at all levels in the Gaza Strip, highly appreciating the moral and national responsibility that citizens have in understanding the precautionary measures taken and adhering to them which represent the firewall in the face Corona Virus.

He said: The medical teams are following 1816 health hosts in 27 quarantine centers, among whom 1061 are sick in hotels, health centers and specialized hospitals within the approved preventive measures, reassuring citizens in the Gaza Strip that the health status of all cases infected with the virus is stable and there have been no health changes in The isolation hospital at the Rafah crossing.

Al-Qudra clarified that the cases discovered in the Gaza Strip were all inside the quarantine centers, which confirms the safety of the precautionary measures taken that have immunized the community and that no injuries were recorded inside the residential areas up to this point.

He continued: “The Ministry of Health is working to confront the Corona virus with limited capabilities, which are decreasing on a daily basis, reaching 43% of drugs, 25% of medical consumables, 65% of laboratory supplies, blood banks, and a large lack of sterilizers and protective supplies, which requires the concerned authorities locally, regionally and internationally. Clear and urgent practical measures to provide our health requirements to achieve a better response to the virus. “

He stressed the ability that the Ministry of Health in Gaza urgently needs to provide 100 artificial respirators and 140 intensive care beds to achieve the first response to facing the Corona virus in the event of a virus outbreak. For patients, and its occupancy rate reaches 72% in hospitals, “warning that the delay in the response of the concerned authorities to the distress call launched by the Ministry of Health to provide health requirements to confront the emerging corona virus increases the concern of medical staff working with limited resources and depleted capabilities.

He pointed out that the specialized teams in the Ministry of Health closely follow the factories that work in the manufacture of sterilizers and protective supplies and conform their product to the approved specifications, and also work in cooperation with the relevant government agencies to control the pharmaceutical market, and adhere to the prices approved for citizens.

(Source / 01.04.2020) 

Israeli Forces Demolish Palestinian Home, Deliver Stop Work Order for Livestock Barn

Israeli forces demolished on Tuesday, a Palestinian-owned house still under construction in the village of Jbara, south of Tulkarem, according to the head of Jbara village council, Ihsan Tahsin.

Tahsin told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that a large army force broke into the village, in the northern occupied West Bank, early in the morning with two bulldozers, closed all entrances to the village, cordoned off the area and proceeded to demolish the one-floor house, after having received a notice from the Israeli military under the pretext that it was built without an Israeli permit.

In addition, Israeli soldiers invaded several villages in the Massafer Yatta area and delivered a stop work order on a 110-square meter animal barn, belonging to a Palestinian resident of al-Tibban village in the southern occupied West Bank , local activist, Fouad Ummour told WAFA.

(Source / 01.04.2020) 

Israeli Army Tanks Invade Parts of Gaza, Raze Palestinian Farmlands

Armored vehicles of the Israeli army invaded early on Wednesday, the northern besieged Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, according to local sources.

Sources and witnesses said that a number of armored vehicles including combat tanks, rolled about tens of meters, deep into farm lands, owned by local Palestinian farmers in the Beit Hanoun town, northern Gaza Strip.

Witnesses added that the Israeli invasion included opening fire and bulldozing of some farm lands, east of the town, inching closer to a local memorial site in the town, itself.

Along the northeastern border of the Gaza Strip, according to witnesses, Israeli army tanks rolled a few meters inside Palestinian farm lands.

Israeli forces frequently invade Palestinian-owned lands along the border between Gaza and Israel, causing devastation of crops owned by local Palestinian farmers living in the area long before the creation of the state of Israel, in 1948.

(Source / 01.04.2020) 

Euro-Med Monitor: Israeli Forces’ Incursions and Soldiers’ Behavior Jeopardize Measures to Prevent Outbreak of COVID-19

The Euro-Med Monitor followed with a great concern reports of suspicious behaviors of Israeli soldiers and settlers, during the storming of Palestinian houses, as some of them spat at parked cars, ATMs and shop locks, which raises fears of deliberate attempts to spread the virus and cause panic in the Palestinian society.

Since the Palestinian government has declared a state of emergency in the Palestinian Territories on March 6, 2020, as a preventive measure to control the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor has documented carrying out 207 Israeli incursions into Palestinian cities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

These incursions included the arrest of 191 Palestinians, attacks on dozens of others, and demolishing Palestinian houses. The majority of these operations took place without any preventive measures and without soldiers wearing appropriate masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

During the same period, Israeli settlers carried out 19 infiltrations into Palestinian neighborhoods in the West Bank, along with carrying out attacks on the Palestinian population and their property.

The Euro-Med Monitor considers that Israeli practices hinder Palestinian preventive measures to counter the spread of the virus, and a threat of the quarantine measures and social distancing adopted by the Palestinian Authority, in line with instructions issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Anas Aljerjawi, the Euro-Med regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said that the suspicious practices of the Israeli forces during the storming of Palestinian cities would reinforce assumptions of hostility of the Israeli army and settlers against the Palestinian population.

Aljerjawi stressed the need to stop illegal Israeli violations in the Palestinian Territories, especially at a time when the world suffers from the novel Corona pandemic, pointing to the dangerous role of the Israeli incursions in raising the possibility of spreading the infection among the Palestinian population in the West Bank.

The danger of these incursions lies in light of the spread of the Coronavirus in Israel, and the death of 16 Israelis, as 4,500 others tested positive, which means that every incursion of the Israeli forces or settlers represents a potential danger of spreading the virus in the Palestinian areas.

The Euro-Med Monitor indicated that Palestinian detainees face the risk of being infected with the virus as a result of direct contact with Israeli soldiers, or during investigations, as four detainees suspected of being infected were isolated in an Israeli prison.

The Euro-Med Monitor stated that while all countries are trying to ensure security and increase health measures and supplies to prevent the outbreak of the pandemic, on March 26, 2020, the Israeli forces confiscated eight tents in the northern Jordan Valley, two of which were set up as health clinics, and four others were built as shelters for citizens in the event of an emergency.

Since Monday morning, 23 March 2020, the Israeli authorities began deporting thousands of Palestinian workers working in Israel to the West Bank cities through checkpoints, after some of them showed fatigue and high temperatures. Most of the deportations took place without medical examinations or special arrangements with the Palestinian authorities, to ensure that workers are treated and examined upon return to ensure their well-being, which amounts to racial discrimination.

These practices pose a public health threat and makes it easier to spread COVID19 among Palestinians. It is worth noting that the only death because of Coronavirus in the Palestinian Territories was a woman who had been infected by her son, who works in Israel. A large number of the 109 Palestinians infected with Coronavirus were infected during work in Israel or Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The Euro-Med Monitor holds Israel, as an occupying Power, fully responsible for these dangerous practices, and demands an immediate cessation of these practices. The Geneva-based organization urged the international community to act and shoulder its responsibilities to protect Palestinians and force Israeli forces to stop incursions that threaten preventive measures taken by the PA to control the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

The Euro-Med Monitor called for investigating the suspicious behavior of a number of soldiers and settlers, which appeared to be an attempt to spread the infection and hold those responsible to account.

(Source / 01.04.2020) 

Home of Palestinian Prisoner and Slain Brother to be Demolished by Israeli Forces

Israeli forces on Monday, handed a home demolition order to the family of slain Palestinian Saleh Barghouthi and his brother, Qassam Barghouthi

Barghouthi’s family were given until April 8 to evacuate their two-floor home in Kobar village, in the central West bank city of Ramallah, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

On December 12, 2018, Saleh Omar Barghouthi, 29, was extra judicially assassinated by Israeli soldiers under the pretext that he was allegedly involved in a shooting targeting colonialist settlers.

Qassem Barghouthi was arrested in September 2019 on charges of his alleged involvement in an attack in which an Israeli settler was killed and two others injured in Deir Ibzi village in Ramallah.

In related news, the Israeli forces arrested Omar Barghouthi, the father of the 2 men, and placed him under administrative detention, with no charge or trial, on Tuesday.

Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that;

  • No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
  • Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

(Source / 01.04.2020)