Ferwana: 222 prisoners have been martyred since 1967

Abdel Nasser Farwana, a specialist in prisoners affairs, said today, Tuesday, that 222 prisoners are martyred after their arrest since 1967.

On the eve of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Day commemoration, Farouana said that 75 of the total number of martyrs were deliberately killed, while 7 others were martyred in prisons as a result of being shot, 67 as a result of medical negligence, and 73 as a result of torture.

He pointed out that hundreds of prisoners died after they were released from prison, as a result of diseases they inherited from prisons.

(Source / 15.04.2020) 

PA receives coronavirus medical aid from China

Palestinian workers disinfect places of worship as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of the novel coronavirus on 12 March 2020 [Ashraf Amra/ApaImages]

Palestinian workers disinfect places of worship as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of the novel coronavirus on 12 March 2020

Palestinian Authority (PA)’s health ministry yesterday received an assistance package of 50,000 coronavirus testing kits from China’s e-commerce Alibaba Group.

The Palestinian Health Minister, Mai Al-Kaila, told local reporters that aid was provided in cooperation with Jack Ma, e-commerce giant Alibaba’s co-founder.

Al-Kaila thanked the Chinese president, government and people for their “generous assistance and support in light of the global spread of the coronavirus.

READ: $120 million needed to face coronavirus crisis as Palestinians warn of its economic impact

The adviser at the Chinese embassy in Ramallah, Wang Yi, said the donation had come “to support the PA as it faces the virus,” adding that her government appreciated “the level of difficulties” Palestine was experiencing amid the outbreak.

Since being identified in Wuhan, China, last December, the virus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions. So far, at least 1,981,912 people worldwide have contracted the virus, of whom more than 125,078 have died; 466,229 have recovered, according to the US’ Worldometers. WHO has declared the crisis a pandemic.

(Source / 15.04.2020) 

2nd Appeal in COVID-19 Crisis: PCHR Calls for Immediate Release of Minors, Women, Patients and Elderlies among Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails

At a time where the whole world is combating the coronavirus pandemic and States have adopted precautionary and preventive measures to defy the virus, Israeli authorities maintain the imprisonment of more than 5,000 Palestinians, including 180 children, 43 women and more than 700 patients in harsh and unsanitary conditions that are inhumane to say the least.

Imprisonment conditions for Palestinians in Israeli jails do not meet the minimum international standards guaranteed under the international humanitarian law (IHL), as Israeli prisons provide inadequate living conditions, and they are crowded.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has been closely following the concerning updates relevant to the reality of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails with the spread of coronavirus. Despite PCHR’s numerous and urgent interventions with the Israeli authorities, and its continued demands that Israeli authorities adopt immediately and urgently the necessary measures to protect inmates from the coronavirus pandemic, Israeli authorities have adopted a number of measures that further violates prisoners’ rights.

Israeli authorities have adopted strict new measures, including banning visitations with prisoners’ families, and prisoners’ lawyers since 17 March 2020, without offering an alternative mean to ensure prisoners have constant contact with their families and lawyers.

Additionally, Israeli authorities have neglected the continued and urgent requests for the immediate release of Palestinian prisoners who are considered at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, the elderlies and the chronically ill in particular.

Making matters worse, Physicians for Human Rights received a shocking decision by the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) rejecting its petition to the Court demanding it order the Israel Prison Service (IPS) and the Ministry of Health to ensure proper medical services are provided for Palestinian prisoners, and take necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus within the prison system. The Court had determined that the petition did not include any legal demands that warrants its intervention; thus, it was refused.

The current situation is no different to the ongoing Israeli policy of medical negligence against Palestinian detainees, despite HCJ’s recognition in its decision of the seriousness of this deadly virus and the death rate of those affected is significantly higher among elderlies and patients suffering from chronic diseases, including heart disease, high-blood pressure and diabetes. However, HCJ’s decision ignored the need to take serious measures to protect the lives of prisoners in these categories of this deadly virus, including the need to immediately release them.

Therefore, the Israeli authorities are still failing to take urgent and serious precautions to protect the lives of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, despite the real threat to the lives of thousands of them.

PCHR stresses that Israeli authorities do not comply with its obligations towards Palestinian detainees according to the rules of international law, including the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners in addition to the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions.

PCHR reiterates its call on the Israeli authorities to take all serious and immediate measures, which no longer can stand delays or procrastination, including providing adequate healthcare and medical treatment for the prisoners and the need for immediate release of all detainees, especially the patients, elderlies, women, and children. PCHR confirms that Israeli authorities bear full legal responsibility for the lives of Palestinian prisoners.

(Source / 15.04.2020)

Israeli Settlers Unleash Cattle on Palestinian-owned Farm Lands

Israeli colonial settlers unleashed their cattle, on Wednesday, onto Palestinian-owned farm lands in the northern Alghour area of the Jordan Valley, in the West Bank.

Local legal activist, Aref Daraghma, told Palestinian Wafa News Agency that tens of cows were released onto farm lands of wheat and barely, in the Umm al-Qaba village in the Alghour area.

The legal activist believed that those cattle, which belong to Israeli colonists, living nearby, have been herded excessively, causing large quantities of wheat and barley to be destroyed.

Palestinian farm lands have recently been frequently exposed to attacks by nearby illegal Israeli settlers in the Alghour area of the Jordan Valley, which is considered to be a rich farming region.

(Source / 15.04.2020) 

UNRWA: ‘Israel’ restricts our efforts to fight coronavirus in Jerusalem refugee camps

 Palestinian workers spray disinfectant outside an UNRWA school as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Dair Al Balah in the center of Gaza strip, on April 2, 2020

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- The spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Sami Imsha’sha’, said that the occupation state restricts the agency’s crews, working to fight the novel coronavirus in refugee camps in Jerusalem.

Imsha’sha’ added that the Israeli restrictions are an extension of the occupation state’s continuous attacks on UNRWA.

After the U.S. decided to move its embassy to Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities stared preventing UNRWA’s services to reach the Palestinian city.

He added that their crews have difficulties entering and leaving refugee camps, which negatively affects the refugees’ lives. Moreover, Israeli forces continue to carry out its daily night raids and arrests, worsening the health conditions among native Palestinians.

(Source / 15.04.2020) 

Settlers’ attacks continue even with coronavirus

Occupied West Bank (QNN)- Although of the coronavirus, settlers’ attacks on Palestinian citizens and their property throughout the West Bank continue.

Hebron

In occupied Hebron, groups of illegal settlers from the settlement of Ramat Yishai attacked the “As Sumoud Wat Tahaddi” center.

Local sources said that armed settlers accompanied by Israeli soldiers attacked the human rights center and tried to damage its fence.

They verbally attacked the activists, who rushed to protect the center and documented the attack using their cameras and phones.

Qaryut

On Wednesday, a group of Israeli settlers set up a mobile house on Palestinian agricultural land in Qaryut in southern Nablus.

Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, said settlers from the settlement of Shilo set up a mobile house in Ras Mweis in the village.

He added that settlers exploit the current condition and the global coronavirus crisis to fulfill their goals and create more settlement outposts.

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers chopped off nearly 36 old olive trees in the village yesterday.

Jordan Valley

On Tuesday, members of the “Hilltop Youth” terrorist group, a group affiliated to the “Price tagging” terrorist organization, attacked Palestinian citizens and torched two vehicles near the 90 street in the Jordan Valley.

The Israeli occupation army had quarantined 20 members of the terrorist group, who were suspected to be positive for coronavirus, at a military facility in the attacked area. Furthermore, the army provided them with food and equipment before they left to attack the locals.

(Source / 15.04.2020) 

Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinian Youth Center In Hebron

Photos File

Late last night, a group of Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian youth center in the occupied section of the southern West Bank city of Hebron under Israeli forces cover, local sources reported.

They said that the settlers under army cover attacked the center run by Youth Against Settlements located in Tel Rueida attempting to break into it.

Palestinian activists rushed to the center to protect it when they learned of the attempt by the settlers to vandalize it and got into the verbal showdown with them.

(Source / 15.04.2020) 

Israeli Settlers Set Up Mobile Home In West Bank Village, Attempting To Seize Land

Photos File

Local sources reported on Wednesday that a group of Israeli settlers set up a mobile home in the northern West Bank village of Qaryout, south of Nablus in a step often follow as a prelude seize Palestinian land.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the north of the West Bank, said settlers from the illegal Shilo settlement placed a mobile home on Qaryout village land.

He said the settlers are taking advantage of the lockdown in the West Bank in light of the coronavirus outbreak to seize Palestinian land and establish a settlement outpost.

Settlers yesterday also chopped 36 olive trees in the same village, said Daghlas.

(Source / 15.04.2020) 

Social Distancing…Luxury That Palestinians Can’t Afford

“Stay at home” is the global command to curb the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19. It has a very different meaning for the people of occupied Palestine.

“How, for example, can self-isolation and social distancing work in the Palestinian refugee camps that are crowded with people who are deprived of their right to return to their homes?” an opinion published on the Middle East Monitor news site read. “It looks like a not-so-funny joke as far as the hundreds of thousands of people crowded into the camps are concerned”.

According to the writer, social distancing is a luxury that nobody has. Palestinian refugees live in ‘temporary’ shelters that were set up ready to be disassembled when it was time for them to return to their homes and land, which for most are only a short drive away. However, decades later, and the camps have a sense of permanence as the number of refugees continues to grow.

“While the medical advice is to keep the elderly away from others as they are the most vulnerable to Covid-19, it is impractical when multiple generations live under one roof, as in the Palestinian and other refugee camps”, the article further read.

This not only applies to the refugee camps, but also to the Palestinians in the wider diaspora, for whom the order to go home and stay there is painful because their legitimate right to return has been ignored, it added.

The writer added that the significance of the coronavirus crisis is not lost on Palestinians anywhere, as it is imposing a new experience on people everywhere who are in “lockdown”, having always had the freedom to move around and travel. Now, countries have closed their borders and stopped most flights and trains.

“This, though, is the norm for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, where more than 2 million people have lived in isolated lockdown since 2006, turning this small area of Palestine into an open-air prison. Isolation has now become an advantage, though, helping to protect Palestinians in Gaza from the risk of cross-border infection, essential given the besieged health sectors’ inability to deal with further medical crises”, the writer went on.

(Source / 15.04.2020) 

From Palestine To The U.S., Coronavirus Exposes Institutional Racism

Photos File

By Dr. Reem Khamis-Dakwar 

Most people imagine that voting rights and citizenship hold a protected status in Western democracies. Yet today’s reality reveals how flimsy those protections are, with the coronavirus pandemic further revealing the ugly face of institutional racism.

The many assaults perpetrated by racist social systems against the human dignity of people of color should be fertile ground for communal outrage and a demand for systemic change. In fact, as a Palestinian from Israel currently living in the United States, it is startling to realize the many commonalities between our two systems of oppression:  limited access to health care for marginalized communities, the stereotyping of people of color as disease-spreaders, and the increased impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these populations.

When the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, accused the Palestinian population in Israel of being the least likely to abide by social distancing orders he was scapegoating Palestinian citizens as spreaders of the disease to Jewish Israeli citizens. No wonder similar messages inciting prejudice towards immigrants and minorities have been uttered by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, in his repeated reference to COVID-19 as  “the Chinese virus.”

Discussions about the disparate impact of COVID-19 on Palestinian communities in Israel and Latinx and African American communities in the U.S. is growing. For example, there is growing evidence of a heightened infection and mortality rate among Black people living in low-income communities. Even though Arabs in Israel are represented relatively well among health professions, they are not represented in the Israeli Ministry of Health’s contingency planning committee (as Haaretz reports). In 2017, Arabs filled 12.4% of government health jobs, and made up 42% of nursing students, 38% of pharmaceutical professionals, and 17% of MDs in Israel. In fact, health care in Israel has been described as a “model of genuine commonality between Arabs and Jews”. Yet, there is not a single governmental hospital in any of Israel’s Arab cities or towns. Additionally, the Arab communities residing in Israel have relatively very little access to COVID-19 test kits orany reliable information about the spread of the virus. A governmental plan to build drive-in testing stations provided resources for seven Jewish cities but not one Arab community. Only one clinic in an Arab city has been designated as a primary corona clinic, compared to the 45 in Jewish cities. Furthermore, public information about the pandemic has almost entirely been disseminated in Hebrew. Arab Knesset members are scrambling to advocate for the development of health information in Arabic and increased testing in Arab communities as well as developing an economic support plan. So much for a model of equality.

Similar inequalities are observed across the US. These issues exist in a shared context of systemic inequality whereby the same populations are being most neglected with respect to the current pandemic are also those who live in poverty, are part of the working class, and are disproportionately affected by pre-existing health conditions that increase vulnerability to the effects of COVID-19.

Ultimately, the increased impact of coronavirus on Arab communities in Israel and the Latinx and African American communities in the US will be overlooked by formal institutions all while members of these communities are most in need of support. This neglect is more stark for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who continue to suffer under an illegal military occupation, blockade, and denial of human rights. This is a lesson in the real limitations of citizenship, but it is probably not on the minds of most of those outside of these communities. People of color know how these systems work first hand, because they are the most impacted by the failures and inequities of those systems.

This reality is also the largest contributor to additional grief, anxiety and bitterness that I am experiencing – I hope alongside many others of all different backgrounds who believe in human dignity. Government health agencies should work to live up to the core ideals of helping professions.

(Source / 15.04.2020)