Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinians in the northwest of Jerusalem on Friday, wounding one young man and causing others to suffer the toxic effects of tear-gas.
Local sources told Quds News Network that Israeli forces shot the young man, 20, in the thigh, the young man, who remained unidentified at the time of this report was transferred to hospital in stable condition.
The young man was reportedly shot as he approached the apartheid wall in the village of Qatanna, in the Jerusalem District, southern occupied West Bank.
Meanwhile, on Friday, the Israeli police in al-‘Isawiya, attacked a Palestinian young man, brutally assaulting him at the entrance to the village, before arresting him.
Israeli troops opened fire, early on Sunday morning, on a number of Palestinian farmers in the southern besieged Gaza Strip.
Local Palestinian media sources and witnesses said that Israeli troops, stationed on watch towers, near the border fence with Khuza’a village, southeast of the coastal territory, opened fire with their machine guns indiscriminately towards a number of local farmers, while bending down in labor.
Sources added that the Israeli troops’ fire caused no causalities, but spread panic among farmers, forcing them to leave their farmlands immediately.
Israeli army fire on border areas are reported frequently, as Israel has created a buffer zone of about 300 meters width, along the eastern and northern border fence with Gaza.
Israeli troops abducted, on Sunday, a number of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, local media outlets reported.
According to Wafa News Agency, among those arrested is a Palestinian child in the Beit Ummar village, north of the West Bank city of Hebron.
Wafa quoted media activist, Mohamad Awwad, as saying “Israeli occupation troops stormed the Sah’b Alsir’ neighborhood, south of Beit Ummar and broke into civilian homes, before they arrested the 17-year-old child, Baha’ Raed. Right after the arrest, the troops transferred Raed to the Karmi Etsour colonial Israeli settlement, which was erected on Palestinian-owned lands”.
Concurrently, local sources in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, said that Israeli troops abducted two young men, including one with special needs.
Mayor of Nahaleen village, Sobhi Zeidan, told Wafa that “Israeli troops abducted both Mohammad Taha, who suffers from speech disabilities, after having broken into his home”.
Zeidan added that some of the invading Israeli soldiers spit all over the floors and walls of Taha’s home.
Other local sources in Bethlehem confirmed that Israeli troops invaded and vandalized the home of another young man, identified as Diya’ Zaghloul, before abducting him from the village of Husan, west of Bethlehem city.
Occupied Palestine (QNN)- The Israeli army on Sunday arrested two Palestinian young men, one of them is with special needs, from Bethlehem and Hebron.
Official agencies stated that the Israeli army arrested Muhammad Taha Fannoun, who has special needs and has speech problems, after breaking into the house of his parents in Nahhalin in western Bethlehem.
The municipal assembly president, Subhi Zidan, said that the Israeli soldiers during their raid intentionally spit at the ground and walls of the houses in the town.
They also arrested Bahaa Raed Migbel (17 years old) after breaking into his house in Beit Ummar in occupied Hebron.
The Israeli occupation army took the teenager to the illegal settlement of Karmei Tzur.
Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported today that Palestinian doctors detected 19 coronavirus cases in the town of Silwan in occupied Jerusalem while the Israeli authorities continue to neglect Palestinian towns in the occupied land.
The head of the center, Jawad Siyam, told QNN that the center worked to count the number of infections in the different neighborhoods of Silwan.
The confirmed coronavirus cases in Silwan have reached 19 after detecting a new case yesterday. The cases are for Palestinians of all ages.
Palestinian doctors in Jerusalem have been trying very hard to detect the infections and take the needed measures in East Jerusalem. The Israeli authorities have abandoned and even targeted East Jerusalem with daily attacks.
Doctor Samer A’war said that the Israeli Ministry of Health has been imposing a blackout on the situation in East Jerusalem.
He added that Palestinian doctors do their best to reach the Ministry and doctors in Israeli hospitals to get information about the cases but the numbers are still inaccurate.
A’war stated that there are at least 60 cases in some areas of East Jerusalem and he urged Palestinians to stay at their houses.
Bethlehem (QNN)- Israeli settlers uprooted dozens of olive trees in the village of Al Khader in southern Bethlehem today.
Local sources stated that the settlers uprooted olive trees, belonging to the citizen Safeyyiddin Da’doa in the village of Al Khader in Bethlehem.
The sources added that the settlers confiscated the uprooted trees and other equipment before leaving the area.
Native Palestinians in the village of Al Khader, who are mostly farmers, suffer from the Israeli repeated assaults. The occupation state continues to confiscate vast areas of their land to expand illegal settlements.
Israeli settlers have recently increased their attacks on native Palestinians, exploiting the coronavirus crisis.
Palestinians have launched a campaign to exert pressure on the Israeli occupation authorities to provide adequate health care to the Palestinian prisoners to protect them from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Ex-detainee Adnan Hamarsha said in statements during a radio show that Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails are subjected to deliberate and systematic neglect by the Israel Prison Service which puts their lives at risk especially with the outbreak of Coronavirus.
Jameel Sa’adeh, head of the legal department at the Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission, said the Palestinian prisoners are more vulnerable now with the absence of vital health care and necessary preventive measures by the Israel Prison Service.
Many human rights organizations held the Israeli authorities responsible for the lives of Palestinian detainees and called for the release of prisoners with health problems as well as children, women and elders.
Meanwhile, the Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad has launched a campaign entitled “You Are Not Alone” to express solidarity with Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails and raise awareness about the deliberate neglect they are exposed to in the midst of a global pandemic.
Gaza on Saturday declared that 1,000 new quarantine units for patients and suspected cases of the novel coronavirus in the coastal enclave are ready to be put into use.
According to a press statement by the Islamic Hamas movement, the local authorities completed the construction of quarantine units able to accommodate 1,000 people, half of which were built in the southern town of Rafah and the other half in the northern part of Gaza.
“Workers had worked day and night within two weeks until they finished the construction of the 1,000 quarantine units, which have been well-prepared and are ready to receive cases infected with the virus,” the statement said.
The quarantine will be operated by the Ministry of Health, the movement noted.
So far, there are 268 cases of coronavirus in Palestine, 13 of them are in the Gaza Strip.
Envoys for Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine say guns of war and conflict must be silenced to tackle COVID-19
The United Nations envoys in the Middle East have urged all warring parties in the region to end hostilities and turn their focus to “the true fight of our lives” – tackling the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement on Saturday, the envoys for Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stressed that solidarity is required to face the challenge of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. But this cannot happen “if the guns of war and conflict are not silenced,” they said.
Many parties have responded positively to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s appeal on March 23 for immediate ceasefires, the five envoys said. But there was a need for stepped up action, they said, with COVID-19 compounding the suffering of people caught up in conflicts in the Middle East.
“At a time like this, partisanship and narrow interests must yield to the greater cause and the good of the people,” their appeal said.
“That is why we echo the secretary-general in calling on all parties in the Middle East to work with the UN so we can “focus on the true fight of our lives” which is COVID-19.
The UN envoys called on all parties to conflicts to engage without preconditions in negotiations to immediately halt hostilities, to sustain existing cease-fires, and to achieve “longer-term resolutions to the persistent conflicts across the region”.
They also urged all feuding parties “to reach out across conflict lines and cooperate locally, regionally and globally to stop the rapid spread of the virus,” and to allow access for humanitarian aid and “humanitarian releases”.
The appeal was signed by UN special envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen, UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis and UN Special Representative for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert.
Guterres said on April 3 that warring parties in 11 countries had responded positively to his cease-fire appeal: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Libya, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen.
He told the UN Security Council in its first meeting on the coronavirus pandemic that he has been encouraged by support for his call for a global cease-fire to all conflicts from world leaders, regional partners, civil society activists and religious leaders.
“From South America to Africa and from the Middle East to Asia we have seen conflict parties take some initial steps to end violence and fight the pandemic,” he said on Thursday. “Still, we must remain cautious, as any gains are fragile and easily reversible, as conflicts have festered for years, distrust is deep, and there are many spoilers.”
He also stressed that concerted international efforts, including by UN envoys, will be required to move from “good intentions to implementation,” noting that “in many of the most critical situations, we have seen no let-up in fighting, and some conflicts have even intensified.”
In Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country which is suffering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, a two-week cease-fire proposed by the Saudi-led coalition backing the U.N.-recognized government went into effect on Thursday.
But Houthi rebels, who control northern Yemen and the capital, Sanaa, quickly dismissed the Saudi cease-fire as a ploy to boost its international standing and accused the coalition of several attacks on Thursday.
The global COVID-19 crisis is simultaneously bringing out the very best and the very worst of humanity. This is no more true than in Palestine, whose heroic people this year are marking 72 years of steadfast resistance to occupation, dispossession and lawlessness by the Israeli occupation. Whereas the global pandemic requires all of humanity to rise to the occasion, Zionist reactionaries are using the crisis as a means to further their genocide against the Palestinian people.
In an April 2 letter to the President of the UN Security Council, Dr. Riyad Mansour, Minister and Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, highlighted that crimes against the Palestinian people continue unabated during the pandemic.
Mansour reports, “A state of emergency has been declared [in Palestine] and the country is in lockdown with a view to stemming the virus’ spread, protect our population, and ensure their well-being. Despite limited resources and the hardships and restrictions already being borne under Israel’s illegal occupation, our national institutions are exerting all possible efforts to respond to this health crisis and its immense humanitarian and socio-economic impact.
“Regrettably, however, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israel is exploiting the state of emergency and lockdown to accelerate its illegal settler-colonization plans, including through the continued demolition of Palestinian homes, destruction of crops, and forcible transfer of Palestinian families. At the same time, military raids in Palestinian areas have continued, as have Israeli settler attacks on Palestinian civilians, in numerous instances undermining efforts to combat the pandemic. […] Israeli settlement construction and expansion and annexation threats have continued unabated.”
Other crimes by the Israeli occupiers have directly undermined Palestinian efforts to contain the virus.
These include the destruction of a health clinic under construction, the detention of Palestinian workers disinfecting public facilities and, those involved in public education efforts, and assaulting Palestinians working in local emergency committees created to help detect coronavirus cases. Repeated acts of spitting by dozens of Israeli soldiers at Palestinians’ cars, walls and doorsteps to intimidate residents amid the COVID-19 outbreak have also been reported.
Concern over Israel’s mass incarceration of Palestinians has been heightened during the pandemic. Mansour informs, “Israel is refusing to heed calls for the release of the more than 5,000 Palestinians, including 180 children and 43 women, that it currently holds captive in its prisons and detention centres, despite four Palestinian prisoners having been exposed to an Israeli employee at an interrogation centre who tested positive for COVID-19. […] Israeli jails are overcrowded, lacking minimum health and safety standards, and poor conditions, including the requirement for prisoners to pay for their own medical treatment and blatant medical neglect, have led prisoners to launch several hunger strikes in recent years. Dozens of Palestinian prisoners also suffer from serious or chronic illnesses and are in need of urgent medical care. To make matters worse, Israel removed all doctors and nurses who were previously tending to Palestinian prisoners, leaving only one nurse per prison, yet a further shocking act of medical negligence.
“In this time of crisis, Palestinians also face another consequence of this decades-long occupation – a dilapidated and depleted health care system that is marked by poor infrastructure and sanitation, a shortage of supplies and inadequate equipment. With just 1.23 beds per 1,000 people, 2,550 working doctors, less than 20 intensive care specialists and less than 120 ventilators in all public hospitals, the West Bank will face a public health disaster if the virus spreads further. And, while the health care situation there is bleak, in the Gaza Strip it is catastrophic.
“As noted by OCHA [the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] on March 26, ‘although the current number of detected cases remains relatively low, the capacity of the Palestinian health system to cope with an expected increase in COVID-19 cases is severely impaired by longstanding challenges and critical shortages … the situation is particularly severe in the Gaza Strip.’ For a population of nearly 2 million, half of whom are children, Gaza has only 56 breathing ventilators for adults, some of which are in disrepair or already in use, 60 intensive care unit beds, and 700 units of personal protective equipment.” News reports on April 8 indicate that Gaza has now run out of COVID-19 test kits.
The Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement on April 1 issued a press release demanding Israel take immediate action to protect food security and prevent economic collapse in the Gaza Strip, including the removal of “ongoing restrictions imposed by Israel on the entry of so-called ‘dual-use’ equipment and materials for which there is an acute need in Gaza’s farming and fishing sectors, and to allow the exit of Gaza-made food products for sale in the West Bank.”