Gaza: No new injuries, more samples taken

Ashraf Al-Qudra, spokesman for the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip, confirmed this evening, Thursday, that no new cases of the new Corona virus had been recorded.

Al-Qudra said in a press briefing, that the Ministry and government institutions have tightened their daily precautionary measures to counter the virus, explaining that the medical teams are following up on health in 1864 within the quarantine centers, of whom 1108 are sick in hotels, health centers and hospitals within their preventive measures.

He pointed out that the epidemiological surveillance and the withdrawal of continuous laboratory samples for the hosts in the quarantine centers, which amounted to 845 samples, were mostly negative, and contributed to discovering the infected cases without showing symptoms to them, which confirms the safety of the precautionary measures taken to immunize the community.

He reassured the citizens that the health status of 12 people with coronavirus in the Isolation Hospital was reassuring and stable.

Al-Qudra said that the health requirements to confront the Corona virus exceed our limited capabilities with the continued Israeli blockade, which requires effective international action to provide 23 million dollars to support our urgent needs.

He demanded that the concerned authorities stand up to their responsibilities in enhancing the medicinal balances, medical consumables and protective supplies, and for the supply of laboratories, corona virus testing materials, and medical device parts, noting that the Gaza Ministry of Health urgently needs to provide 100 artificial respirators and 140 intensive care beds to counter the Corona virus.

(Source / 02.04.2020) 

Gaza: calling for relief and assistance for workers affected by Corona

The General Federation of Palestinian Trade Unions in the Gaza Strip, today, Thursday, called on the government to work to help workers who were affected by the spread of the emerging Corona virus.

In a statement, the union pointed out that several vital sectors were affected by the spread of the epidemic, and caused tens of thousands of workers to stop their work, and dozens of workshops, factories, restaurants and others stopped.

The Federation called on the government to consider the category of workers as a disaster and affected category in light of the spread of the epidemic, calling for the allocation of an emergency fund to address the effects of this epidemic and compensate the affected workers.

He also called on the relevant authorities in Gaza to allocate part of the Qatari grant to help affected workers.

(Source / 02.04.2020) 

UNRWA distributes food aid to families in Gaza

Food baskets are delivered directly to beneficiaries’ homes as a precautionary measure by UNRWA   

UNRWA distributes food aid to families in Gaza, 2 April 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
UNRWA distributes food aid to families in Gaza, 2 April 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
UNRWA distributes food aid to families in Gaza, 2 April 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
UNRWA distributes food aid to families in Gaza, 2 April 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
UNRWA distributes food aid to families in Gaza, 2 April 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
UNRWA distributes food aid to families in Gaza, 2 April 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
UNRWA distributes food aid to families in Gaza, 2 April 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
UNRWA distributes food aid to families in Gaza, 2 April 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has resumed the distribution of food aid in the Gaza Strip on 31 March. UNRWA has changed the method of distributing its food aid by making deliveries directly to the homes of refugees, in order to ensure their health and safety, which is the top priority for UNRWA. Beneficiary families do not pay any fees for the food aid, with UNRWA covering all costs.

Food baskets are delivered directly to beneficiaries’ homes as a precautionary measure by UNRWA, to prevent gatherings as part of its steps to reduce and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. By using this method, families do not need to leave their homes to receive their food baskets.

As a means to ensure the safety of beneficiaries, and in keeping with health measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, no direct contact is made between those delivering the food baskets and those receiving it. Moreover, a distance of two metres is kept between individuals, no papers are signed and there is no contact with the delivery vehicle.

READ: Qatar pays $100 each to 100,000 poor families in Gaza 

(Source / 02.04.2020) 

2019 record year for Israel destroying Palestinian homes

The worst month in 2019 for such destruction was April, during which 63 homes and other structures were demolished  

Israel demolished a record number of homes in occupied East Jerusalem in 2019, an Israeli advocacy group has revealed in a new report.

Non-profit organisation Ir Amim said that more than 140 Palestinian homes were demolished in the occupied city last year, resulting in the displacement of 238 people, 127 of whom were minors. The corresponding figure for 2018 was 72 homes. The worst month in 2019 for such destruction was April, during which 63 homes and other structures were demolished.

The Israeli authorities argue that the structures were constructed without the necessary permits and that “cease work orders” are often issued while the structures are still being built, which owners routinely ignore. In response, Ir Amim noted that Palestinians are effectively left with no choice but to build without permits because applications by Palestinians are rarely, if ever, approved. Despite the obvious risks involved in going ahead without permits, personal circumstances often mean that the homeowner has no other option.

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

The Ir Amim researcher who wrote the report, Aviv Tatarsky, said that only seven per cent of housing units approved by city planners last year were for Palestinian neighbourhoods, even though Palestinians make up about a third of Jerusalem’s population. “The situation in East Jerusalem was very bad last year,” he pointed out.

This systematic refusal policy pursued by Israel disregards the principles of international law, and reflects the state’s pursuit of demographic change in East Jerusalem through every means at its disposal.

Around 650,000 Israeli Jews live in more than 100 illegal settlements built in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967 when the second stage of Israel’s occupation of Palestine began. International law still considers both the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be occupied territories and all Jewish settlements therein as illegal.

READ: Israel commands Jerusalem family to demolish 4-story home

(Source / 02.04.2020) 

Israeli Troops Abduct 3 Palestinians, Seize 100 Sheep

Israeli forces, overnight Wednesday, invaded Palestinian homes and abducted three residents in East Jerusalem, southern occupied West Bank, local sources reported.

Sources told media outlets that Israeli troops stormed the Silwan neighborhood on Thursday at dawn, broke into several homes and abducted two Palestinian civilians, identified as Bahaa Abu Tayeh and Naserallah Alawar.

Earlier on Wednesday night, the soldiers abducted local resident, Saed Obeid from the Arab-Palestinian neighborhood of al-‘Isawiya in occupied East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Israeli authorities in the internationally-recognized occupied East Jerusalem reportedly seized dozens of sheep over night on Wednesday, south of the city, according to local sources.

Hamada Hamada, head of the Wadi Alhums neighborhood’s committee, confirmed that Israeli authorities seized dozens of sheep from the Sur Baher neighborhood, on the southeastern outskirts of East Jerusalem, without giving any reasons.

Hamada estimated the number of the sheep confiscated at 100.

Israeli authorities in the occupied East Jerusalem regularly impose oppressive measures against Palestinian civilians and their property. These include, but are not limited to; home demolitions, nightly invasions and often violent abductions, restriction of movement, arbitrary inspection of IDs as well as severe restrictions to access to the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Palestinians consider Israel’s actions as provocative and aimed at hardening lives of more than 100,000 indigenous Palestinians, living in the occupied city of East Jerusalem.

(Source / 02.04.2020) 

Archbishop Hanna Calls For Releasing All Detainees As Coronavirus Detected In Prison

Archbishop of Sebastia from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of occupied Jerusalem, Attallah Hanna, issued a statement calling on Israel to release the Palestinian political prisoners in its jails, especially after a recently released detainee was found to be infected with the Coronavirus.

The Archbishop said that Israel must release all detainees before it is too late, especially since the political prisoners already face very dire conditions and are deprived of basic rights guaranteed by all international laws and treaties.

He added that the fact that a detainee, who was released just days ago, was found to be infected with the virus, calls for immediate action and serious measures, including their release to their families.

The detainee, Noureddin Sarsour, from Betunia town, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, gave his consent to the lawyers to reveal his identity, the  Palestinian Committee for Detainees and Ex-Detainees has confirmed.

“Here in occupied Palestine, we cannot just stand and watch while this disaster ravages among the detainees, in their small, dirty, overcrowded rooms, and cells,” Hanna stated, “We, therefore, call on all legal and human rights groups, in addition to all religious institutions, and every person or group that defends human rights, to unite and combine their efforts to secure the release of all detainees, especially as this disease is becoming like a rapidly ticking time bomb.”

The archbishop reiterated his call for all organizations and groups in Palestine, the Arab world and all around the globe, to act immediately to secure the release of all detainees.

The Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails are constantly facing harsh living conditions and are denied the right to proper and specialized medical treatment.

Last year, a Palestinian detainee from Gaza, identified as Fares Mohammad Baroud, 51, who has been held by Israel since 1991, died from serious complications resulting from being denied required specialized medical attention.

His death brings the number of detainees who died in Israeli prisons since the year 1967 to 218, including 63 who died after being denied the required essential medical treatment.

It is worth mentioning that, in another statement, the Archbishop called for the immediate lifting of the deadly Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, to alleviate the suffering of around 2 Million Palestinians, the majority of them living in poverty and dire conditions.

(Source / 02.04.2020) 

PPS Calls for Immediate Release of over 1,000 Palestinian Prisoners

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), on Tuesday, released a statement regarding fears for the fate of 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation jails, after the declaration of jailers and investigators being infected with the coronavirus, COVID-19.

The Prisoners’s Society added that they have experienced great difficulty in obtaining prisoner health information, due to the isolation measures imposed by the prison authorities, including suspending family and lawyer visits.

The Prisoner’s Society renewed its request to international organizations including the Red Cross, to play a more effective role through increasing the number of people in Palestine to fulfill the current needs of the population. The statement asked for a neutral international medical committee to participate in testing the prisoners.

The prisoners relayed, through several messages, that the prison authorities never provided any of the precautionary measures in the crowded, closed sections of the prisons. Instead of making an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, authorities persecuted the prisoners, accordingly, the prisoners returned their meals and closed the sections as a protest.

It is indicated that there are 700 sick prisoners, 200 who suffer chronic medical issues, in addition to 180 children and 41 females. According to Palestinian WAFA News Agency, the PPS and several other institutions co-launched a petition requesting the release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including ill, elderly, female and minor prisoners, over fears of coronavirus spread in the absence of Israeli Prison Service (IPS) health measures to protect them from the coronavirus pandemic.

(Source / 02.04.2020) 

Palestinian prisoners in Ofer military camp protest failure of IPS to test them for coronavirus

Ramallah (QNN) – Palestinian prisoners in Ofer prison near Ramallah refused to accept their meals this morning in a protest measure against failure of the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) to examine prisoners who were in contact with an infected inmate released two days ago, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS).

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA said Nour Sarsour, 19, from the town of Beitunia, near Ramallah, was tested positive for coronavirus after his release from prison and arrival at home. He seems to have contracted the disease while in prison and was released and sent to Ramallah without the IPS conducting any corona tests on him leaving the possibility that he could have passed the disease to other inmates.

PPS said the IPS only checked the prisoners who were in contact with Sarsour but did not take any samples from them to test them for coronavirus, claiming that it was waiting for an official medical report from the Palestinian Authority proving that the released prisoner has the disease.

As a result, it said, the prisoners at Ofer started protest measures to prevent the spread of the disease to the other sections of the prison and prisoners, demanding carrying out proper tests on the prisoners who were in contact with Sarsour to see if they have been infected or not.

(Source / 02.04.2020) 

For the first time ever… Palm Sunday procession canceled over coronavirus fears

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem canceled the annual event to prevent the spread of the virus

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem announced that the Palm Sunday procession, which was intended to take place in occupied Jerusalem next Sunday, will be canceled to protect people amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Palestine.

Thousands of Christians from Palestine and all around the world take part in the annual event.

The Patriarchate assured in a statement that the decision was made “to protect the participants of our Palestinian people from the spread of the coronavirus and in accordance with the health regulations in this regard.”

The spokesman for the Council of Catholic Church Presidents in the Holy Land, Wadi’ Abu Nassar, told QNN that the cancelation of the major event affected everyone and it is very sad.

Abu Nassar added that “there are ongoing consultations with civil authorities to consider all the possibilities of performing prayers and finding a way to allow the people to perform their prayers.”

“The condition is harsh for everyone. How would it be possible for a procession, in which thousands of Christian men, women, and children take part, to be held with the participation of few monks! The well being of the people, however, is the priority of the Church.”

Abu Nassar reassured that performing all prayers is impossible. Prayers will be performed, however, with the participation of a few religious leaders amid precautionary measures. All prayers will be broadcasted either online or on TV. channels or on both of them.

Palm Sunday commemorates the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Holding palm branches, the participants walk from Beit Fadj in At Tur to Jerusalem as they enter the city from Al Asbat gate and walk to the Church of Saint Anne.

(Source / 02.04.2020) 

Palestinian prisoner tests positive for coronavirus

Noureddin Sarsour spent 12 days at the Israeli Ofer prison where he contacted with at least 36 prisoners before he was released Monday

Ramallah (QNN) – A Palestinian prisoner that has been released lately has tested positive for coronavirus, the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners confirmed on Wednesday.

The Palestinian prisoner Noureddin Sarsour from Betunia town, west of Ramallah city, who had been detained in division 14 at Ofer Israeli prison since March 18 2020, received test results on Tuesday, showing he is positive for the Coronavirus.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Palestinian Committee for 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 prisons.

According to the statement, 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 novel coronavirus.

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

On Tuesday, Palestine Prisoners Centre for Studies called on releasing the long-serving prisoners amid the exceptional conditions due to the coronavirus epidemic, especially that an agreement between the occupation state and the PLO was made 7 years ago to release all the long-serving prisoners. The Israelis released three groups of the prisoners but violated the agreement and stopped releasing the prisoners after that.

The centre called on releasing the long-serving prisoners who are more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus; they are old and they spent many years in jail, which negatively affected their health. Also, most of them suffer from chronic diseases.

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.

(Source / 02.04.2020)