Rosemary farmers in the Gaza Strip feeding their goats because of corona

Farmers in the Gaza Strip were forced to destroy flowers in their greenhouses in the Rafah Governorate, south of the Strip, as a result of the lack of turnout due to the Corona pandemic.

The interruption of life as a result of the precautionary measures imposed in the sector by the government agencies has caused a number of professions to be disrupted, including cultivating roses that citizens accept in seasons and happy occasions.

Some farmers tried to save as many flowers as possible, for sale, especially as wedding halls, halls, and meetings were suspended.

The area planted with flowers ranges from1,200 dunums to 180 dunums, mostly in the Rafah Governorate, in the south of the Strip. And costing the cultivation of a single dunum of flowers, which is locally considered a luxury requirement – according to the statistics available to farmers and specialists – about eight thousand dollars, and the number remains a candidate for increase in the event of agricultural land exposure to epidemics, or weather conditions that are not suitable for seedlings. And each dunum of flowers per day needs 3-5 cups of water.

Despite the high costs incurred by flower growers, this sector remains one of the important agricultural productive sectors in the Gaza Strip, as it contributes about 25 million dollars annually in national income.

The number of workers working in the flower sector is 4,500, either directly or indirectly.

The flower export season extends between 11 / 11-25 / 4, during which all sector production is exported to Western European countries, namely the Netherlands, and then to other European markets.

The Gaza Strip exported 60 million flowers annually to Europe; however, in 2012, farmers managed to export only five million flowers due to the frequent Israeli closures and obstacles to the crossings.

It takes 11 months to grow and harvest flowers, so they start in June, and crop care continues until the beginning of December, when harvest, which in turn continues until May.

More than 100 varieties of flowers are grown in the Gaza Strip, but the pink is the flower preferred by the Gazan farmer in his land, to withstand the fluctuating weather factors.

(Source / 18.04.2020) 

A journalist from Gaza exploits domestic stone to restore her hobby in painting

The long time spent by young journalist Khawla Al-Khalidi from Gaza City has pushed home stone to avoid the new Corona virus to restore her hobby in drawing beautiful paintings that simulate nature and beautiful scenery.

On the fifth of last March, the Palestinian Authority declared a state of emergency as soon as the first cases of HIV were recorded in the city of Bethlehem, in the south of the West Bank, and took necessary measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

Precautionary measures included isolation in homes, restricting movement, closing schools, churches, mosques, shops, restaurants, clubs, and gyms and banning public gatherings.

Khawla, who works as an anchor on official Palestine TV, says she spends many hours drawing art

She added, “I decided from the first moment to declare a state of emergency and restrict movement, to restore my hobby by drawing after an absence of more than 10 years.”

The young woman, thirtieth, added, “I rushed to a library to buy the tools necessary for painting, such as colors and whiteboards, describing that moment as a double-edged sword, the first joy to return to drawing again, and the second fear of failure to restore her hobby and practice it professionally.”

The mother explains to four children that “her constant preoccupation with work and caring for the family prompted her to give up her favorite hobby by using feather and colors to draw whatever she likes.”

Khawla took several hours to overcome her fears after her success in painting on glass as her first experience.

“Over the course of a month of home stone, I managed to draw dozens of glass panels, and I show them at home so I can be proud of what they made in front of my family,” says the young woman, who is happy.

And she adds, “It is a beautiful feeling to be able to create beauty on your own.”

The young woman’s paintings and brushes include nature’s various types of trees, seas, rivers, sunrise and sunset.

According to Khawla, her drawing practice was not intended to earn money in light of the economic conditions in the sector, as much as it is to enhance her hobby and the participation of her four beautiful children, through which they can overcome the boredom and boredom of staying at home for many hours.

“I am a mother and a homemaker before I am a journalist, and it is natural for me to feel anxiety and fear about the current situation we are living in due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, but I decided to be positive and convey my feelings to others through my paintings,” she says.

Al-Khaldi uses her personal accounts on social media to publish her paintings to her followers, as she receives praise and encouragement from them through positive comments on the drawings.

“The media’s role is not only limited to conveying the message by disseminating information about the emerging Corona virus, but it can be effective in its community, calling on citizens to invest their positive energies in what is beneficial to them,” she says.

To date, Palestine has recorded 375 HIV infections in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including 66 cases of recovery and two deaths, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Commenting on that, Al-Khalidi said that the Corona crisis is a temporary stage that will end sooner or later, “then it is sufficient for us to prepare ourselves for what comes after Coruna and strengthen our resolve with positivity.”

Al-Khalidi aspires to hold an exhibition that displays her paintings, in which she tells the diary of Corona in the home stone, to prove to the world that the Palestinians have the ability to be optimistic and dream about a promising future.

(Source / 18.04.2020) 

The US administration is allocating $ 5 million in international aid to the West Bank and Gaza

The US Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have allocated nearly $ 508 million for health emergencies and humanitarian and economic aid to many countries, parties, and NGOs that help communities around the world deal with the Corona epidemic . This funding will support health and humanitarian activities to control the spread of the Corona epidemic, such as rapid public health information campaigns, water and sanitation, and infection control in health care facilities.

This included US aid to a large number of countries in the world, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

According to a US State Department statement, the United States will provide the West Bank and Gaza Strip with approximately $ 5 million in international assistance to combat the outbreak of the virus.

The statement also indicated that the total US government assistance against the Corona Virus provided so far is approximately $ 200 million in emergency health assistance from the US Agency for International Development’s International Health Emergency Reserve Fund for outbreaks of infectious diseases and global health programs, approximately $ 195 million of Humanitarian assistance from the United States Agency for International Development.

The statement said: “US government departments and agencies work together to prioritize foreign aid based on coordination within the country and the potential for impact.”

(Source / 18.04.2020) 

Palestinian compares virus lockdown to Israel’s occupation

Malaysian security forces inspect vehicles to enforce lockdown regulation as a part of coronavirus prevention efforts in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 22 March, 2020 [Syaiful Redzuan/Anadolu Agency]
Malaysian security forces inspect vehicles to enforce lockdown regulation as a part of coronavirus prevention efforts in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 22 March, 2020

A Palestinian immigrant living in Malaysia has said the latest stay-at-home order to curb the spread of coronavirus reminds him of life under Israeli occupation.

Muslim Imran, chairman of the Palestinian Cultural Organization of Malaysia (PCOM), said restrictions on movement and living under curfew were part of his and thousands of other Palestinians’ daily life back home.

“This is nothing new for us. Many of us live under Israeli occupation and curfews,” said Imran.

READ: Palestinian expats hail Malaysia’s call to defend Jerusalem

He said that for Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza uninterrupted electric supply is a far-fetched dream due to Israel’s sanctions on fuel.

The man, who moved to Malaysia in 2003 at the age of 17, recalled how Israeli forces restricted Palestinians from visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Despite residing at close proximity to the mosque, he added, citizens under the age of 50 had to obtain prior permission to pray.

“Every day in Palestine we experienced things worse than MCO [Movement Control Order],” said Imran.

He said that as a result of the restrictions, many Palestinians live below the poverty line and more than 50% are unemployed.

75% of Palestinians in Gaza live in poverty
MEMO #Infographic by QUAD Digital Media

However, Imran said that he understands that life under lockdown is also not easy for Malaysians as public transportation and people’s movement are restricted.

“We, Palestinians, pray that this pandemic will soon pass,” he added.

(Source / 18.04.2020) 

Orthodox ceremony of Holy Fire takes place in deserted Jerusalem

A person prays in front of the closed Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday in Jerusalem on 10 April, 2020 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
A person prays in front of the closed Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday in Jerusalem on 10 April, 2020

The Holy Fire ceremony symbolising Jesus’ resurrection took place in a deserted Jerusalem on Saturday, without the joyful throng of Orthodox Christian pilgrims who would normally attend one of the most colourful spectacles of the Easter season.

Bells tolled above a near-empty Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Theophilos III, emerged from the crypt where Christians believe Jesus was buried, carrying the flame and accompanied only by a handful of Orthodox clergy, some wearing masks to protect against the coronavirus.

Outside in the medieval courtyard of the Holy Sepulchre, by tradition, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection, the plaza was empty of all but a few Israeli police and clerics maintaining social distancing.

READ: Praying outside Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but unable to enter

The Holy Fire ceremony typically draws tens of thousands of worshippers to an imposing grey edicule in the Holy Sepulchre that is believed to contain the tomb where Jesus lay two thousand years ago.

Christian worshipers light candles lit from a flame that emerged from the tomb believed to be of Jesus Christ as they take part in the ceremony of the holy fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher 4 May, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. [Lior Mizrahi /Getty Images]

Sunbeams that pierce through a skylight in the church’s dome are believed by worshippers to ignite a flame deep inside the crypt, a mysterious act considered a Holy Saturday miracle each year before Orthodox Easter Sunday.

Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Patriarch then lights a candle with the Holy Fire and disperses it to the faithful.

In normal years this would be to the thousands of tiny candles held by cheering worshippers packed into the corridors and passageways of the building.

But with Jerusalem under lockdown, only a few clergies were present inside the church to receive the flame from the patriarch.

TV footage showed a handful of Greek, Armenian and Coptic Orthodox clergy, garbed in black and wearing blue face masks, standing outside the sealed tomb’s wooden door.

READ: Holy Land custodian urges Israel to let clerics celebrate Easter in Holy Sepulchre

The Holy Sepulchre church, like others in the Holy Land, was closed to the public last month amid precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox churches share custody of the building with Roman Catholics, who celebrated Easter last week.

Jerusalem has sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Leaders of all three religions have closed holy sites and urged followers to celebrate festivals at home this year.

(Source / 18.04.2020) 

Arab Parliament calls for releasing Palestine prisoners in occupation prisons amid spread of coronavirus

A group of people stage a demonstration in front of the Israel’s West Bank separation wall to show their support to the Palestinian prisoners in Bethlehem, West Bank on 22 March 2019 [Wisam Hashlamoun/Anadolu Agency]
A group of people stage a demonstration in front of the Israel’s West Bank separation wall to show their support to the Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prions on 22 March 2019 

On the occasion of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, which falls on 17 April every year, the Arab Parliament called on the United Nations (UN), international human rights bodies and the International Committee of the Red Cross to assume their legal and humanitarian responsibilities and compel the Israeli entity, the occupying power, to release Palestinian prisoners and to stop violations against all norms and international laws, which are continuing against them.

Lives of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails - Cartoon [Alarabya]

The Arab Parliament stressed in a statement that the suffering of thousands of Palestinians, including children, women and elderly detainees, in the prisons of the occupation has worsened with the spread of the coronavirus, especially after the announcement of a number of infections among them. This requires urgent international action to compel the occupation’s authorities to respect the rules of international law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention, which underlines the rights of prisoners at the time of the spread of epidemics, and the required urgent and necessary measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic among the Palestinian prisoners.

READ: On Prisoners’ Day we remember all Palestinians because they are all detainees

The Parliament also urged all international organisations and bodies to declare their full solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners, to communicate their suffering to all countries of the world, and to expose the Israeli occupation forces’ humanitarian violations against the Palestinian people through all available means.

On this occasion, the Arab Parliament expressed its solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners held in the Israeli occupation prisons, and highly appreciated their steadfastness in their battle to obtain their freedom and the freedom of their people, and build their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

(Source / 18.04.2020) 

Israel officer: Preventing coronavirus outbreak in Gaza is a security interest

Gaza police stop cars parking along the beach to reduce public gatherings in an attempt to tackle the coronavirus in Gaza on 11 April 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Gaza police stop cars parking along the beach to reduce public gatherings in an attempt to tackle the coronavirus in Gaza on 11 April 2020 

he commander of the southern region of the Israeli occupation army, Major General Herzi Halevi, announced: “Preventing the coronavirus outbreak in the Gaza Strip is an Israeli security interest.”

According to the Hebrew Channel 12, Halevi reported on 17 April: “If the coronavirus is spreading in Gaza, it will be difficult to deal with the pandemic there.”

“It is in Israel’s security interests to prevent the outbreak of the virus in Gaza, because Hamas may opt for escalation against Israel in case of a virus outbreak in Gaza,” he added.

Even the coronavirus empathises with the situation of Palestinians in Gaza telling Palestinians 'it'll pass'

Halevi pointed out that: “Israel allows international organisations to enter the necessary medical equipment and supplies for Gaza, in order to contain the spread of the virus there.”

Responding to Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar’s statements about respirators, and preventing Israelis from breathing, Halevi threatened: “If Hamas chooses to escalate because of the coronavirus, the loss will be doubled.”

Since the COVID-19 outbreak in Palestine in March, the Gaza Strip has recorded 13 cases of the coronavirus infections, eight of which have recovered.

OPINION: Despite the Israeli blockade, Gaza is tackling Covid-19 with typical determination

(Source / 18.04.2020) 

13 Palestinian journalists languish in Israeli jails

Journalists demonstrating in Palestine
Journalists demonstrating in Palestine

At least 13 journalists are currently being held in Israeli prisons, a journalist association said Friday, Anadolu Agency reports.

Two female journalists are among the detainees, according to a statement by Palestinian Journalist Syndicate deputy Tahseen al-Astal.

He stressed the aim is to prevent journalists from doing their work and covering the crime of Israeli soldiers against Palestinian people.

The statement was released on the occasion Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.

READ: On Prisoners’ Day we remember all Palestinians because they are all detainees

Palestinians first began marking Prisoners’ Day in 1974, when the Palestinian National Council adopted April 17 as a national — and international — day on which to show solidarity with Palestinian detainees.

Over a million Palestinians have been held in Israeli jails since 1967, when Israel occupied West Bank, Gaza.

The syndicate is continuing its efforts in international courts to expose Israeli occupation to the world.

(Source / 18.04.2020) 

US to Provide $5 Million in Aid to Palestine

United States of America reportedly announced it would grant Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza a sum of five million US Dollars, or 3.6 million New Israeli Shekels (NIS) to help deal with the Covid-19 paramedic.

In a tweet he posted on Thursday, the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, said “I’m very pleased the USA is providing $5M for Palestinian hospitals and households to meet immediate, life-saving needs in combating COVID-19. The USA, as the world’s top humanitarian aid donor, is committed to assisting the Palestinian people, & others worldwide, in this crisis”

Washington’s decision comes as a response to the Coronavirus, which has plagued the majority of countries worldwide.

A statement by the US State of Department, read “The US government is leading the world’s humanitarian and health response to the COVID-19 pandemic even while we battle the virus at home”, the statement continued, “As part of this comprehensive and generous response from the American people, the US Department of State and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have now committed nearly $508 million in emergency health, humanitarian, and economic assistance on top of the funding we already provide to multilateral and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are helping communities around the world deal with the pandemic.”

The Ambassador added, “This funding will support critical activities to control the spread of the disease, such as rapid public-health information campaigns, water and sanitation, and preventing and controlling infections in health-care facilities”.

The sum, allocated for the Palestinian people comes two years after the administration of Donald Trump, cut off all financial aid to the Palestinian people, including the Palestinian Authority.

Withholding the aid was the administration’s response to the Palestinian peoples’ rejection of Trump’s vision for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, known as the deal of the century, as well as Trump’s endorsement of the internationally-recognized occupied East Jerusalem, as the undivided capital of the state of Israel.

US-Palestinian ties were further severed in January of 2020, after Trump publicly announced his deal of the century, which Palestinians believe hijacked their inalienable rights, including the right to a viable statehood, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as sovereignty over the occupied West Bank.

(Source / 18.04.2020) 

In Video| 35000 NIS fines on anti-settlement protesters in Jerusalem

Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- The Israeli police on Friday imposed 35000 NIS fines on seven protesters. The protesters were peacefully protesting against settlement in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported that the Israeli police surrounded the Sheik Jarrah’s weekly anti-settlement, land-grabbing, and demolition vigil.

The vigil was organized by seven activists, some of them are locals from the neighborhood, and imposed 35000 NIS fines on them (5000 NIS for each protester).

Wadi Hilweh Center quoted the protesters, who said that they adhered to all the Israeli conditions. There were only seven activists, they made sure to have a distance between them, and they were wearing face masks.

In another context, Israeli forces arrested four Palestinian young men from the Qanater neighborhood in the old city.

(Source / 18.04.2020)