Israel settlers spitting on Palestinian cars raises concern over attempt to spread coronavirus

Israeli settlers in the West Bank, 31 August 2010 [Mamoun Wazwaz/ApaImages}

Israeli settlers in the West Bank, 31 August 2010

Israeli settlers have been accused of trying to spread the coronavirus in Palestinian neighbourhoods by spitting on cars in a West Bank village.

Residents of the village of Beit Iksa, northwest of occupied Jerusalem, reported the shocking incident last week of Israeli settlers spitting on vehicles travelling into and out of the village which is surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements.

Speaking to Palestinian WAFA news agency residents described how settlers from Ramot settlement, build on land belonging to Beit Iksa in violation of international law, stood at the entrance to the village and started to spit on Palestinian cars entering or leaving the village in an attempt to spread the coronavirus.

READ: Israel settlements turn Palestinian house into cage

A group of youths from the village are said to have confronted the settlers and forced them to leave the area and then disinfected the road and cars.

Ramot settlement has reported 17 cases of coronavirus out of its overall population of 550 people. Settlers from Ramot are notorious for harassing local Palestinians. They are often seen vandalising cars belonging to Palestinian and spraying racists slogans on their properties.

Coronavirus spreading in the Middle East - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

In a separate incident Israeli soldiers were also accused of deliberately trying to spread coronavirus by spitting on cars and homes belonging to Palestinians.

Dozens of Israeli occupation forces stormed several neighbourhoods in the West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) during which they deliberately spat on the doors of Palestinian homes and cars according to the Palestinian Chronicle.

READ: Nearly 1,600 trees vandalised by Israel settlers in the West Bank since start of 2020

Eyewitnesses reported seeing Israeli soldiers intentionally and repeatedly spitting at cars, walls and doorsteps. In one instance the image of an Israeli soldier spitting on a car was captured on video.

Fearing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Palestinians rushed to sterilise the places which the soldiers spat at following their withdrawal.

Israel is one of the hardest hit in the region by the coronavirus. One town affected by the pandemic is believed to have a 38 per cent infection rate which prompted the government to seal the territory. With over a million jobless, the country’s unemployment rate jumped 527 per cent last week.

(Source / 06.04.2020) 

PA bans all Israel products from its markets amid coronavirus fears

Empty streets and closed shops are seen after a curfew was announced by authorities as a measure against coronavirus (COVID-19), in Ramallah, West Bank on 23 March 2020 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Empty streets and closed shops are seen after a curfew was announced by authorities as a measure against coronavirus (COVID-19), in Ramallah, West Bank on 23 March 2020

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is banning the import of all types of Israeli products in its effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The new move, decided yesterday, comes after the Jerusalem Governor Adnan Ghaith warned Arab residents of Jerusalem not to risk purchasing goods or used items from Israelis on the eve of the Jewish Holiday of Passover, as they may be contaminated.

Issued by PA Minister of National Economy Khaled Al-Osaily, the restriction on Israeli imports came amid a spike in coronavirus cases in Palestine.

Today, 15 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the occupied West Bank, raising the total number of known infections in Palestine to 252, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Al-Osaily warned that anyone who violates the new directive will be held legally accountable, reported the Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post.

READ: Israeli settlements are ‘epicentres’ of coronavirus outbreak 

He also added that his ministry, together with the PA security forces, has been working to implement a law that combats settlement products, which was approved by PA President Mahmoud Abbas in 2010.

In the past, the PA banned the entry of settlement products into Palestinian markets, in response to Israel having stopped Palestinian agricultural produce from being sold.

The trade crisis started in September when Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh announced the PA would stop importing beef from Israel, as part of a drive to reduce Palestinian economic dependence on the occupation state.

It had only returned to normal earlier this year after the PA lifted the ban.

(Source / 06.04.2020) 

Israel holds 200 child prisoners with minimum healthcare provision

Palestinian children take part in a protest demanding the release of prisoners in Israeli jails in Gaza city, on November 29, 2016 [Mohammed Talatene/Apaimages]

Palestinian children take part in a protest demanding the release of prisoners in Israeli jails in Gaza city on 29 November 2016

The Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and Ex-Prisoners in Gaza reported yesterday that there are 200 Palestinian children held by Israel in prison who do not receive sufficient healthcare provision. They even lack the necessary protection to help curb the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 at a time when many security officials and prisoners are infected.

The ministry provided the details in a statement to mark Palestinian Children’s Day, stressing the need for rights organisations, especially those with a specific focus on children, to act now to protect child prisoners held by Israel. At least two children, explained the ministry, have been quarantined by the Israelis because they have been in contact with investigating officers and other prisoners who have the virus. The International Red Cross Society was urged to intervene to have the children released without delay.

From January 2019 to the end of last month, Israel arrested 789 boys and girls aged 12 to 18. Detained children are deprived of their most basic rights and face unfair trials and inhuman treatment which violate their basic rights.

Dozens of children are arrested in Jerusalem every day, said the ministry, more than any other Palestinian governorate. As well as imprisonment, they are confined to their homes and face deportation from their home city as well as heavy fines.

Israel is holding around 5,700 prisoners, including 200 children, 44 women, five members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, 27 journalists and 470 administrative detainees held with neither charge nor trial. Of the 700 prisoners in ill health, 200 need urgent treatment.

READ: Israel cop filmed firing at Palestinian children through school gate 

(Source / 06.04.2020) 

Israeli settlements are ‘epicentres’ of coronavirus outbreak

Jewish settlements near Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on 10 February 2015 [Nedal Eshtayah/Apaimages]

Jewish settlements near Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on 10 February 2015 

The Palestine Liberation Organisation has warned that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem have become epicentres of the coronavirus pandemic, threatening nearby Palestinian cities, towns and villages.

The PLO’s National Office for the Defence of Land and Resistance of Settlement added in its weekly report that the Palestinian Authority has called on Palestinian labourers who work in the settlements to stay at home because of the risk. The virus has apparently surfaced in Palestinian residential areas where people who work in the settlements live.

According to PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, the settlements are both a loophole and a challenge to the Palestinians in the battle to curb the spread of the virus.

In its report, the PLO noted that the settlers have escalated their aggression against the Palestinians, taking advantage of the coronavirus lockdown to damage hundreds of trees across the occupied territory. The Israeli security forces do nothing to stop them or enforce the lockdown.

New Israeli settlements in Jerusalem [Cartoon/Arabi21]

The PA announced a state of emergency in the Palestinian territories last month to combat the Covid-19 outbreak. Nevertheless, the Israeli authorities have since demolished 40 buildings belonging to Palestinians or forced their owners to demolish them. A further 260 buildings have been damaged.

When demolition orders are served on Palestinians, the Israeli occupation authorities make the owners pay for the destruction of their own homes if they are not prepared to knock the buildings down themselves.

READ: Israel settlements turn Palestinian house into cage 

(Source / 06.04.2020) 

PCHR Condemns Israeli Defense Minister’s Statements, Stresses Linking Humanitarian Aid to Politics is Unacceptable

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Israeli Defense Minister, Naftali Bennett’s statements linking the entry of medical supplies into the Gaza Strip to combat Coronavirus with the return of Israeli soldiers who have been held by Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip since 2014. PCHR stresses that this bargaining constitutes a flagrant violation of Israel’s obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

PCHR considers that bargaining Palestinian civilians’ humanitarian needs for political gains is utterly unacceptable and condemned. PCHR reiterates that abusing civilian needs for gaining political ground is abhorrent, and warns that such a position could carry a direct threat to the lives of civilians in the Gaza Strip, as it could lead to a coronavirus outbreak, bearing in mind the severe shortage of medical requisites and deterioration of the economic situation due to the Israeli-imposed closure for over 13 years.

On Wednesday, Naftali Bennett said in a statement that, “The moment there is talk of the humanitarian world in Gaza – Israel also has humanitarian needs, which are mainly the recovery of the fallen.” And I think that we need to enter a broad dialogue about Gaza’s and our humanitarian needs. It would not be right to disconnect these things … and certainly, our hearts would be open to many things.”

In light of this, PCHR stresses the necessity not to involve Palestinian civilians in the woes of politics, use them as means of pressure to gain political advantages and threatening to impose collective punishments on more than 2 million Palestinians. In this regard, PCHR points out the State of Israel’s long history of imposing collective punishments on Palestinian civilians.

PCHR calls upon the international community and the World Health Organization (WHO) to fulfill their responsibilities to stop these attacks on Palestinian civilians, and to pressure Israel as an occupying power that controls Gaza outlets to provide the essential needs of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, including medical devices, in order to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Under international law, the occupying state is responsible for the lives of people in the occupied land and it has a legal obligation to provide health care to the population under international humanitarian law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Hague Convention of 1907, which emphasized the responsibility of the occupying state for the safety and well-being of the population of the occupied land.

Likewise, international human rights law under the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The United Nations Special Committee affirmed in its concluding observations on Israeli reports to the Committee that the occupying state is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the convention provisions in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and requested Israel to integrate this aspect in its reports.

Thus, it is evident that providing the requirements to protect the population of the Gaza Strip from the coronavirus pandemic is a legal obligation upon Israel. Therefore, it cannot be bargained or compromised with under the general principles of international law.

(Source / 06.04.2020) 

On Palestinian Child Day – There are 200 Children Detained in Israeli Prisons

Head of the Palestinian Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Commission, Qadri Abu Bakr, on Sunday, said that Israel has 200 Palestinian children in detention, commemorating ‘Palestinian Child Day’ on April 5th, Palestinian WAFA News Agency reported.

In a statement, Abu Bakr said that since the year 2000, Israel has arrested no less than 1700 Palestinian minors between 12 and 18 years, in addition to the detention of children younger than 10 years.

Abu Bakr asserted that these children are subjected to very harsh interrogation and even torture during their detention, in clear violation of international human rights standards. He called on the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, the Human Rights Council, UNICEF and Amnesty International to pressure Israel to release the minors.

(Source / 06.04.2020) 

Report: 17 Israeli Violations Against Gaza Fishermen

The Gaza-based Palestinian Agricultural Union issued on Sunday a report, outlining the amount of Israeli naval forces violations against Gaza fishermen, during March of 2020.

According to the Department of Lobbying and Advocacy of the Palestinian Agricultural Union, Israeli naval forces, off the coast of Gaza, committed 17 violations against Gaza fishermen, last month.

The department’s records suggested that among those violations were opening heavy fire, unleashing waste water cannons and ruining fishing nets. The violations also included damaging two boats, belonging to two different fishermen from Gaza City.

The non-governmental agricultural organization also noted that the recent amount of violations against fishermen, came while Palestinian fishermen and many other categories of Palestinian workers, are coping with the spread of the coronavirus, worldwide, by following the precautions put forth by concerned health bodies, as many of those fishermen stay-in doors, to protect themselves.

Compliance by fishermen has been noted widely, despite the fact that fishing is the only source of income for them to provide for their families, with the Gaza Strip having been subject to a crippling Israeli blockade, for 13 years now.

The Gaza-based Agricultural Union asserted in its statement on the union’s endeavor to disclose all Israeli actions, off the coast of Gaza, which the union considers as human rights violations, mainly the right to live decently, in a time Israel imposes a great deal of restrictions on fishermens’ work.

Back in 2007, Israel enforced a sea blockade on the coastal trip, affecting the livelihood of about 4,000 Palestinian fishermen in Gaza.

Since then, fishermen have been able to fish only within 6 to 9 nautical miles, off Gaza Mediterranean shores. Only recently, Israel has allowed fishermen to fish within 15 nautical miles, but only in some parts of the Gaza Strip’s shores.

(Source / 06.04.2020) 

Three New Coronavirus Cases Confirmed In West Bank By Total In Palestine 237

Photos File

Three new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the West Bank by midnight, raising the total in Palestine to 237, according to government spokesman Mohammad Milhem.

He said in a statement that the three cases are for a woman in her 50s from the town of Sair in the south of the West Bank and two children in the Jerusalem-area village of Biddo, who got the disease from their mother who is currently quarantined at a center in Ramallah.

With the three new cases reported by midnight, total cases for yesterday were 20.

Of the 237 total in Palestine, 12 are in the Gaza Strip, where six are reported to have recovered, and the rest are in the West Bank where only 18 have recovered and one death.

(Source / 06.04.2020) 

Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinian Family In The Occupied Part Of Hebron

Photos File

A group of Israeli settlers attacked today a Palestinian home in the occupied part of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, according to the house owner Zaidan Sharabati.

He told that the settlers sneaked onto the roof of the house where he and his brother and their families live, under Israeli army protection, damaged the rooftop water tanks and removed a Palestinian flag and raised an Israeli flag in its place.

When the family confronted them, the settlers ran away to a nearby settlement.

Sharabati expressed serious concern that the settlers may have polluted their water tank with the coronavirus.

(Source / 06.04.2020) 

Israeli Aircrafts Spray Gaza Farmlands With Toxic Chemicals

Photos File

The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) on Sunday sprayed once again toxic herbicides on farmlands near the border fence in the east of Gaza City.

Local farmers from al-Zeitoun and Johr al-Dik areas of Gaza City reported that Israeli agricultural aircrafts sprayed toxic chemicals on vast tracts of land planted with wheat, barley, corn, okra, molokhia (corchorus olitorius) and other crops, affirming the chemical spray caused widespread damage to the crops.

The farmers said that the Israeli measure caused them heavy financial losses and poisoned the agricultural environment in the area.

In this regard, al-Mezan Center for Human Rights accused the Israeli occupation state of exploiting the global coronavirus crisis to destroy crops along the border fence in the east of Gaza, while persisting in imposing its tight siege on the population.

Al-Mezan Center called on the international community to assume its legal and moral responsibilities and intervene to prevent Israel from using toxic herbicides that exterminate crops and endanger the lives of farmers in Gaza.

Every once in a while, the IOA deliberately sprays agricultural areas in eastern Gaza with toxic chemicals and destroy large tracts of cultivated land under different flimsy pretexts.

(Source / 06.04.2020)