The health of Gaza announces the recovery of 3 persons with corona and the stability of the health of the remaining nine

The Gaza Ministry of Health announced that 3 of the 12 people infected with Coronavirus in the Gaza Strip have recovered.

The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Youssef Abu Al-Rish in a press statement today, Friday, that the conditions of the remaining nine cases in the isolation hospital are reassuring and stable.

Abu Al-Rish called on the concerned authorities to stand up to their responsibilities in enhancing the medicinal balances, medical consumables, protection supplies, laboratory supplies, and materials for testing the Corona virus and medical equipment spare parts, and appealed for the provision of 100 respirators and 140 beds of intensive care to tackle the Corona virus urgently.

He explained 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.

(Source / 03.04.2020) 

Clashes break out in Kafr Quddum with the occupation soldiers

Clashes broke out friday in the village of Kafr Kaddoum, east of Qalqilya, with Israeli soldiers after the weekly march began towards the entrance, which has been closed since 2003.

Eyewitnesses confirmed that israeli soldiers suppressed the weekly march with tear gas, metal, rubber, plastic and spongy bullets, resulting in many citizens being suffocated, in addition to chasing the soldiers for youths to arrest them and seize the roofs of houses near Clashes to snipe the participants in the weekly march, which has entered its ninth year since July 2011, demanding the opening of the closed entrance and the main village artery.

(Source / 03.04.2020) 

Launching the international humanitarian campaign to lift the siege on Gaza, with the participation of 60 institutions

The international humanitarian campaign to lift the siege on Gaza was launched, with the participation and cooperation of 60 international and media institutions, titled # The Siege – Epidemic, stressing that it will continue to follow its humanitarian solidarity program with the Gaza Strip in the coming days.

The campaign said, in a press release: The siege imposed by the Israeli occupation on the Gaza Strip was and still is an act of aggression with the rank of a crime against humanity, and a look at the statistics and data indicating the decline in the indicators of life in Gaza suffices, so we know that the occupation has turned this small spot of Palestine land to a closed prison, in which the most basic elements of a safe life are lacking, financially and morally.

She added: “Today, the threat of the spread of the new Corona virus is an additional factor, adding to the brutality of the blockade, which prey on the 2 million people who live in the Gaza Strip. The siege and Corona are epidemics that are participating today in killing the residents of the Gaza Strip, and this holds the institutions of the international community responsible for serious work to raise The unjust Israeli siege on Gaza.

The institutions participating in the international humanitarian campaign to lift the siege on Gaza (blockade B) called on all institutions of the international community, the free, honorable, social media activists and individuals carrying the banner of truth and justice, to mobilize efforts and participate in the widest possible range in the international humanitarian campaign to lift the siege on Gaza # Siege_ epidemic.

(Source / 03.04.2020) 

Al-Khudari: $ 200 million in Gaza losses due to Corona

Jamal Al-Khudari, head of the People’s Committee to Face the Siege in the Gaza Strip, said on Friday that the economic losses in the sector amounted to 200 million dollars during the past month due to measures to confront the Corona virus, as well as the ongoing Israeli blockade on Gaza.

Al-Khudari explained in a press statement to him, that these losses are direct and indirect, and include all economic sectors, industrial, commercial, contracting, tourism and others.

He pointed out that the majority of businesses are stalled, and that the economic stalemate is controlling the sector, and that this coincides with a scarcity of liquidity, in addition to the continuation of the blockade.

He pointed out that unemployment and poverty rates have increased more than they were, indicating that the current situation is catastrophic and requires work to pressure the occupation to end the siege, and Arab, Islamic and international solidarity to relief the sector and provide it with medical, food and humanitarian needs.

Al-Khudari called on UNRWA to increase food allocations, work with donors to urge them to fulfill their obligations and increase food and drug allocations, calling on the Ministry of Social Development to work with the relevant authorities and Arab and Islamic countries, to support and compensate the segments that were directly affected in order to enhance their resilience, and increase the segment of families benefiting from support to meet This case is unprecedented.

(Source / 03.04.2020) 

Eastern Mediterranean countries praise Palestine´s actions to tackle Corona virus

Minister of Health Mai Al-Keela reviewed during a video conference conference with the WHO Eastern Mediterranean, Palestine’s preparations to combat the Corona virus and limit its spread.

The Regional Director of the World Health Organization for the Eastern Mediterranean, Ahmed bin Salem Al-Manzari, called for a videoconference to discuss the crisis of the “COFED-19” outbreak at the global and regional levels.

During the meeting, the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region praised the efforts made by Palestine to confront the virus, by starting work from the zero hour through strict measures to address the spread of the virus.

The representative reviewed the situation of the virus in Palestine and the number of infections, pointing to the shortage of test materials for the Corona virus, calling on friendly countries to help Palestine in this area.

During the meeting, she presented the ministry’s plans to deal with Palestinian workers returning from their workplaces within the 48 lands, and the government’s efforts to control the epidemic and limit its spread.

The meeting started with an opening speech delivered by WHO Regional Director Ahmed Al-Manzari, after which the Director of Health Emergencies at the Regional Office Richard Brennan reviewed the latest developments in the region, procedures, restrictions, challenges and ways to move forward to reduce the spread of the Corona virus and seek to eliminate it.

The meeting discussed various aspects of the current pandemic, and some key strategic measures have been reached that further coordinate collective efforts. The meeting also contributed to identifying areas in which Member States can facilitate WHO or country need actions in the region.

State plans, precautionary and preventive measures to protect against the Corona virus were discussed, and the importance of being prepared to deal with developments, and continuing to work hard to support the organization’s directions to limit the spread of the virus, to protect members of societies in countries of the world from this epidemic and ways to prevent its spread.

(Source / 03.04.2020) 

Legal Expert Anis Kassim: ‘Saudi authorities violate international law by constantly arresting Palestinians’

Palestinians take part in a protest in solidarity with prisoners in Saudi jails, in front of the Red cross office, in Gaza city on on 16 October 2019. [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Palestinians take part in a protest in solidarity with prisoners in Saudi jails, in front of the Red cross office, in Gaza city on on 16 October 2019

Palestinian expert on international law, Dr Anis Kassim, advocates that the Saudi authorities should immediately release all Palestinian and Jordanian detainees, principally because the arrest process does not rest on any legal grounds, and demands the extradition of prisoners to Jordan.

In an exclusive interview with Quds Press, Kassim, who is also the chairman of the Palestinians Abroad Conference, expressed his surprise that the arrest process had occurred in the first place, noting that for decades, the detainees have always had a good reputation in Saudi Arabia. He explained that the way they were arrested, and the nature of the charges, constitute a clear violation of international law.

A year ago, Saudi Arabia arbitrarily arrested dozens of Palestinian students, academics and residents on its soil, including Mohammad Al-Khudari, who was responsible for coordinating relations between  Hamas and the Saudi Kingdom, without formal charges being brought against them. Some of the detainees have already been tried, however, their fate still remains unknown, human rights organisations reported.

READ: Remembering Saudi’s arrest of Hamas’ Al-Khodari one year on 

Quds Press learned that on 8 March, the Saudi authorities proceeded with trying around 62 Palestinians (some of whom were Jordanian passport holders), residing on Saudi territory.

The interview transcript with Dr Kassim is as follows:

How did you perceive the proceedings of the arrests and trials executed by the Saudi authorities against Jordanian and Palestinian detainees?

The arrest process did not rest on any legal grounds. The detainees were devoting their efforts to public service and support of the Palestinian people, and most importantly, the Saudi authorities have been aware of all their activities for decades.

The detainees, according to the information we have, have always enjoyed a sound and credible reputation in the kingdom. Furthermore, in the past, the Saudi authorities used to encourage the prisoners’ charitable work, and accordingly, we absolve the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from interiorising any intention to prosecute those young Palestinians.

How do you explain the method of arrest, the nature of the charges and denying detainees access to lawyers, in accordance with international law?

The international law rejects all those procedures that have been, and are still taking place, because no crime has been proven on the detainees’ behalf, and still to this day, with a whole year having passed, we do not know the nature of the charges that they are being tried for. If the charges are related to terrorism, then there is no anti-terrorism law in Saudi Arabia.

Do you think that the arrests came within political or legal frameworks?

I think that the arrests are political. That is why the detainees should not be tried at all on charges they did not commit.

There are serious concerns that the detainees might contract the coronavirus in Saudi prisons. What is your comment on that?

According to the international protocol, the Saudi authorities are obliged to release the detainees immediately, and extradite them to their country, where they will either be tried or released, based on the judgment of competent authorities. This is exactly what happened in several other countries, where authorities have concerns of having the prisons contaminated with COVID-19. As such, the prisoners must be released without delay.

With regard to the Palestinian and Jordanian prisoners in the occupation prisons, who can also become infected with coronavirus, how do you view the occupation’s intransigence on this serious issue?

Jordanian or Palestinian prisoners in the occupation prisons are in a different situation, because according to international law, they are considered prisoners of war, and thus, must be treated in accordance with the regulations of the Third Geneva Convention. The abuse inflicted on the Palestinian captives by the Israeli occupation, and the authorities’ intentional reluctance to apply the necessary preventive measures to protect them from the virus, is considered a war crime.

What is required from the Jordanian government regarding the issue of the Jordanian prisoners held in the occupation prisons?

According to international law, the Jordanian government is supposed to demand the release of all its prisoners, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in light of the spread of the coronavirus. The prisoners are the nationals of a country that signed a peace agreement with Israel in 1994, and therefore the occupation authorities are required to hand over the Jordanian prisoners for fear that the captives may be infected with the virus.

(Source / 03.04.2020) 

OCHA: $34m needed to counter coronavirus spread in Palestine

A group of volunteer youth carry out disinfection work during the coronavirus pandemic in Gaza on 29 March 2020 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

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

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) announced that the response plan prepared by the Regional Humanitarian Team to counter the coronavirus, requires $34 million to prevent the further spread of the virus in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The United Nations (UN) stressed in a report that the Palestinian health system’s ability to deal with an expected increase in the number of patients remains severely limited due to the long-term challenges and critical shortages it is experiencing, especially in the Gaza Strip.

“The West Bank and occupied Jerusalem include the most vulnerable groups, whose condition may require extensive medical care, including the elderly, people suffering from hypertension, lung diseases, kidney failure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” explained OCHA.

It further described that people living in refugee camps and other poor and densely populated areas across the occupied Palestinian territories are at a greater risk of infection, due to overcrowding and poor sanitation systems.

READ: Israel links coronavirus aid for Gaza to recovering soldiers 

The UN pointed out that on 27 March, the Regional Humanitarian Team in the occupied Palestinian land launched an adjusted version of the inter-agency response plan to tackle COVID-19, covering the next three months.

The organisation indicated that the team launched an appeal to provide $34 million to prevent further transmission of the virus in the occupied Palestinian land, to provide adequate care to infected patients and to support their families, to mitigate the worst effects of this pandemic.

The UN confirmed that until now, 24 per cent of the response plan prepared by the Regional Humanitarian Team has been funded, including a provision of $4.8 million that will soon be granted by the Humanitarian Fund, after redirecting the first standard allocations allocated by the fund.

UNRWA has also launched an urgent independent appeal, requesting $14 million to cover COVID-19 interventions in its five areas of operations, for the next ninety days.

(Source / 03.04.2020) 

Occupation authorities arrest 250 Palestinians, including 54 children

Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian boy on 11 February 2020 [Mosab Shawer/ApaImages]

Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian boy on 11 February 2020

The occupation army continued its aggression and arrests in the occupied Palestinian territories during the month of March, despite the spread of the coronavirus, attaining 250 recorded arrests, including the detention of 54 children.

The occupation prisons have been overwhelmed since last month by a state of extreme tension and indignation, as a result of the authorities’ disregard for the lives of prisoners by not taking any preventive measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, in addition to confiscating the prisoners’ rights.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies reported on Thursday that the occupation forces arrested 250 Palestinian citizens in March, including 54 children and six women.

The occupation authorities are disregarding all the risks that the detainees may be exposed to while being detained during the outbreak of the coronavirus, not to mention the consequent violations and abuses that may occur during the investigations.

Last month, the occupation forces arrested eight citizens from the Gaza Strip, three of whom were merchants who were arrested while travelling to the Erez crossing, while five other youths were arrested while crossing the Gaza Strip’s eastern border.

READ: Its coronavirus response provides more evidence of Israel’s racism 

The occupation state has been continuously targeting Palestinian women and minors with arrests. 54 cases of detention of minors – the majority of whom were from occupied Jerusalem – were recorded, in addition to six other Palestinian women and girls.

Spokesperson for the Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies, researcher Riyad Al-Ashqar, confirmed that the occupation constantly endangers the lives of Palestinians by continuing arrests in these exceptional circumstances that have swept the whole world. While the Israeli authorities keep releasing Zionist criminals, they continue to arrest Palestinians, including the sick and the elderly.

Al-Ashqar considers the occupation practices towards the prisoners as a clear disregard for their lives, pointing out that the Israeli authorities refused during the past month, and are still refusing, to implement the required safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in prisons, in addition to refusing to sterilise the detention facilities. Medical check-ups for prisoners who are newly transferred to prisons from abroad, or from the investigation and arrest centres, are also not being undertaken to ensure that they are not infected with the virus. This means that the infection will soon propagate in prisons.

He also affirmed that the prison administration decided to deny the prisoners the purchase of dozens of items from the prison canteen, including hygiene materials and soap, as a way to enhance their suffering, which prompted the detainees to use toothpaste and shaving cream to clean the rooms and courtyards.

The occupation courts have issued 65 administrative decisions, including 40 new decisions issued for the first time to arrest Palestinians, the majority of whom were recently released then rearrested by an administrative ruling. This comes in addition to the issuance of 25 decisions to renew the sentences of prisoners under administrative detention, for periods ranging from two to six months.

The centre stressed the need for international institutions to intervene to stop the arrests policy undertaken by the occupation authorities during these times, which pose a threat to the lives of the detainees, while also demanding the immediate and unconditional release of sick prisoners, the elderly, and women and children, as they present the most vulnerable groups.

READ: Palestinian prisoners simply don’t matter to Israel’s security narrative, even in a pandemic 

(Source / 03.04.2020) 

10 Palestinian detainees launch hunger strike protest lack of coronavirus protection

Palestinians gather for a demonstration to demand coronavirus (COVID-19) protection for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, in Gaza City, Gaza on 19 March 2020. [Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians gather for a demonstration to demand coronavirus (COVID-19) protection for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, in Gaza City, Gaza on 19 March 2020

Ten Palestinian political prisoner at Ofer Detention Centre, southwest of Ramallah, launched an open ended hunger strike to protest against the ongoing solitary confinement of two detainees, as well as against Israel’s failure to protect them against the coronavirus, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) announced yesterday.

More prisoners have vowed to join the hunger strike if the demands of demands remain unmet, PPS said.

Nineteen-year-old Palestinian, Nour Sarsour, from Beitunia near Ramallah, tested positive for coronavirus after his release from prison on Tuesday. The Israel Prison Service failed to test him for the virus and he may have infected other detainees.

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Commission of Detainees: Nour Ad-deen Sarsour, released yesterday from Israeli prisoners, tested positive for coronavirus!

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On Tuesday, PPS raised its concerns for the wellbeing of the 5,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails saying they are not being protected against the spread of COVID-19.

READ: Israel tells Palestinian prisoners, ‘Use your socks to make masks,’ as neglect continues

(Source / 03.04.2020) 

PA extends state of emergency amid fears of rising coronavirus cases

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds a press conference on Trump's so called peace plan in Ramallah, West Bank on 28 January 2020. [Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, West Bank on 28 January 2020

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas announced he has issued a decree extending the state of emergency for another month in the occupied territories, Wafa news agency reported.

The move comes in an effort to enable the health and security services to bring the spread of the coronavirus under control amid fears of a rise in the number of cases.

“We have decided to extend the state of emergency for 30 days throughout the occupied Palestinian territories to confront the coronavirus outbreak,” read Article (1) of the presidential decree.

READ: Calls for Israel to release sick Palestinian prisoners

“The competent authorities shall continue to take all necessary measures to tackle the risks arising from the pandemic outbreak, protect the public health, and bring about security and stability,” read Article (2) of the presidential decree.

As part of the new measures, a curfew will be put in place from 5pm to 10am with shops ordered to close in line with the new rules. Pharmacies are exempt.

The total number of confirmed cases in the occupied territories rose to 161 last night after a 60-year-old resident of Beitunia town, west of Ramallah, tested positive for the virus. The resident had contracted the virus after being in touch with a worker who tested positive after returning from his workplace in Israel.

READ: Palestinians, curfews and self-discipline 

Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said that the continued movement of workers between Israel and the West Bank was a “severe blow” to his government’s efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

About 15 to 20 per cent of employed Palestinians work in Israel or in illegal settlements.

(Source / 03.04.2020)