The occupation arrests 16 citizens

The occupation forces launched, at dawn today, Wednesday, a campaign of arrests in Ramallah, Jerusalem, Tulkarm, Nablus and Jenin, affecting 16 citizens.

And local sources in Ramallah reported that the occupation forces arrested seven citizens from Ramallah and Al-Bireh governorate, namely: Shuja Darwish (37 years), Fadi Hamad Ghanem (36 years), and seized his vehicle, and Musab Saeed, from Birzeit town north of Ramallah. Omar Abu Ghosh (43 years) is from Al-Tireh, Raafat Abu Rabee ‘, Maher Shretah from Al-Mazra’a Al-Gharbia, and Arafat Nasir from Deir Qaddis, and he is a resident of Abu Qash village, after their homes were raided and searched.

In Jerusalem, the occupation forces arrested 4 Jerusalemites after raiding their homes.

And local sources reported that: Muhammad Nayef Obaid, Moaz Al-Ashhab, Arafat Najeeb and Mustafa Al-Tarhouni were arrested.

In Tulkarm, the occupation forces arrested two young men from Nour Shams camp and the town of Anabta, namely: Luay Rasim Abu Shuqair (19 years), and the released prisoner Nasser Osama Nassar (18 years).

In Nablus, forces arrested two brothers from the village of Burin, south of Nablus.

The official news agency reported that the occupation forces stormed the village of Burin and raided several homes and arrested Qais Ahmed Eid and his brother Ismail Ahmed Eid.

In Jenin, an Israeli special force kidnapped, at dawn, the freed prisoner Yusef Jamal Al-Zubaidi, while he was inside his restaurant in the Jenin camp.

(Source / 28.08.2020)

The arrest of 13 civilians, including a wounded boy

Israeli occupation forces raided, last night and Thursday dawn, Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem, Qalqilya, and Jerusalem, and arrested 13 citizens, including a wounded boy.

Security sources reported that the occupation forces arrested Amer Izz al-Din from the town of Qarawat Bani Zaid northwest of Ramallah, and Najib Mafarjah from the town of Beit Liqia southwest of Ramallah, after they raided their homes.

In Hebron, the forces arrested Iyad Mahmoud Abu Hashhash from Al-Fawwar camp in the south, and raided several homes in Al-Fawwar camp and the town of Yatta, whose owners were known: Muhammad Abu Hashhash, Ahmad Makhamrah, and Yunus Zain, and searched them and tampered with their contents.

In the same context, the occupation forces closed the military roadblock at the entrance to Al-Shuhada Street in the center of Hebron, and prevented the movement of citizens through it.

In Bethlehem, the occupation forces arrested the two boys, Omar Khaled Abu Ammar (17 years), from the Al-Abayat area, and the wounded boy, Naim Musa Abu Aahour, from Mount Handaza, after they raided their families’ homes and searched them.

It is noteworthy that Abu Aahour, a week ago, was shot in the foot by a bullet in the foot, fired by the occupation soldiers, while he was in the vicinity of the Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque at the northern entrance to Bethlehem.

In addition to four brothers from the town of Battir, they are: Muhammad, Munir, Mahmoud and Amer Qatoush.

In Jerusalem, the forces arrested both: Musab Khalil Shamasneh (25 years old), Ayoub Muhammad Khadour (28 years old), and Khaled Yahya Ayyash (25 years old).

And in Qalqilya, the occupation forces occupied Karam Shobaki (23 years).

(Source / 28.08.2020)

Palestine calls on the United Nations to urge Israel to refrain from the policy of seizing the bodies of the martyrs

The State of Palestine called on the UN Special Rapporteurs to urge Israel, the occupying Power, to refrain from resorting to the brutal and barbaric policy of seizing the bodies of the martyrs and to abolish any laws that allow such action, and to demand that the bodies be immediately returned to their families And to conduct real, impartial, independent and effective investigations into the deaths of detainees and peaceful protesters.

This came in a letter sent by the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations in Geneva, on behalf of the State of Palestine, to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, in addition to the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and the President The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, the Special Rapporteur Concerned with freedom of religion and belief, and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition, in order to ensure accountability and deterrence of Israel, the occupying power, from seizing Palestinian bodies, especially the bodies of minors and detainees.

It also called on the State of Palestine to urge Israel, the occupying power, to publish its own rules of engagement regarding the use of live ammunition, regulate the use of lethal fire, respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and call on the international community to provide protection for the Palestinian people and put an end to Israel’s systematic and discriminatory policies, and support The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has worked on its preliminary study of the situation in Palestine.

It urged the special rapporteurs to initiate a criminal investigation into the return of the bodies, including the development of a DNA test and registration service, and to facilitate the proper identification and burial of the bodies and remains.

The letter was addressed to the special rapporteurs regarding Israel’s illegal detention of 66 bodies of Palestinian martyrs in refrigerators, in addition to the presence of 254 Palestinians in mass graves by Israel, the occupying power, where they were denied the right to a dignified burial.

The letter stated that Israel, the occupying power, is using this illegal and systematic practice of detaining the bodies of Palestinians who were executed and killed by the Israeli occupation forces as a bargaining chip, and that this policy violates the human dignity of the victims and their families and infringes on the families’ right to privacy and religious freedom.

She emphasized that the policy of detaining the bodies and their impact on families amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and customary international law, which prohibits torture and ill-treatment, including Rule 90 of the customary international law study, which Israel is obligated to do. Commitment to it in the occupied Palestinian territories.

She said that the policy of detaining the bodies deprives Palestinian victims and their stricken families from investigating the circumstances of the killings, and thus violates Israel’s obligation to investigate, punish, and address arbitrary deprivation of life, including the obligation to allow an adequate medical autopsy by an independent forensic examiner if the family requests it.

(Source / 28.08.2020)

MAP declares healthcare emergency across Gaza, West Bank and Lebanon

Gaza’s first community COVID-19 cases are only the latest crisis in a pan-regional humanitarian emergency affecting Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory and Lebanon

With the discovery this week of community-transmitted cases of COVID-19 in Gaza, for the first time in its 35 years Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is responding to a humanitarian emergency among Palestinian communities across all three areas of operation: the West Bank, Gaza and the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon. The agency warns that without a significant boost of international financial and diplomatic support, this multi-layered, pan-regional crisis constitutes an existential threat to the health and wellbeing of the Palestinian people.

A HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY ACROSS GAZA, THE WEST BANK, AND LEBANON

On 24 August the Ministry of Health in Gaza declared that it has discovered the first cases of COVID-19 outside of quarantine centres, with four individuals infected within the densely-populated refugee camp of Maghazi. A 48-hour curfew has been declared as local authorities scramble to identify and isolate any further cases in the community and prevent further infections. On 26 August, nine new cases were identified in Gaza as the infection continues to spread.

These cases raise fears of the “nightmare scenario” of a widespread outbreak of the disease beyond the coping capacity of  Gaza’s healthcare system, long on the brink of collapse, and a society that is suffocating under illegal collective punishment in the form of Israel’s 13-year closure and blockade.

“If we were already struggling to keep the most vulnerable people in Gaza alive, what hope do we have in the face of a COVID-19 outbreak? Gaza simply doesn’t have the resources to respond.” – Gaza Director Fikr Shalltoot

This development comes amid Israel’s closure of the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing since 11 August, suspending the import of fuel, which has caused Gaza’s only power plant to close down and left residents with as little as four hours of electricity per day. Hospitals are now heavily reliant on backup generator power to keep services running and critical patients alive. Frequent power cuts are causing damage to essential equipment such as incubators for new-born babies. There is less than one month’s supply of 45% of essential medicines and 31% of medical disposables left on shelves. With almost half of the population (46%) living below the poverty line and 68% of households  food insecure, lockdown measures needed to contain the disease also threaten the welfare of many vulnerable families.

Fikr Shalltoot, MAP’s Director of Programmes in Gaza said: “Even before this news, Gaza’s health sector was running out of basic life-saving medical supplies. Last week I received a call from the Ministry of Health warning that without an urgent shipment of surfactant – a drug for treating babies suffering breathing difficulties – the lives of tens of new-borns in neonatal intensive care units are at grave risk.”

“If we were already struggling to keep the most vulnerable people in Gaza alive, what hope do we have in the face of a COVID-19 outbreak? Gaza simply doesn’t have the resources to respond. Only through a significant injection of international support can we avert catastrophe in Gaza.”

In the occupied West Bank, Israel’s de facto annexation, settlement expansion, home demolitions and settler and military violence against Palestinians continue unabated. Palestinian communities in Area C are suffering worsening humanitarian conditions as their livelihoods, movement and access to essential resources and services are restricted. A surge in COVID-19 cases is compounding threats to health and lives, particularly in the Hebron area that is the current epicentre of the pandemic in Palestine. More than 25,000 cases have now been reported in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, with over 500 cases being reported each day.

Meanwhile, in Lebanon, the devastating explosion in Beirut on 4 August compounded the country’s severe economic and political crisis. Currency devaluation, unemployment, power cuts and food shortages disproportionately affect marginalised people including Palestinian refugee communities, driving families further into poverty and food insecurity. With several major Beirut hospitals damaged in the blast, others, including those run by MAP’s partners, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, are having to deal with increased patient load amid a chronic shortage of basic resources.

On top of this, COVID-19 is now spreading rapidly in the country. There has been a 180% increase in cases since the explosion and more cases were detected in August so far than all months combined since the pandemic began. Healthcare resources are dwindling and lives endangered, with the country reporting more than 500 new cases every day. There have been 242 COVID-19 cases and eight deaths so far among Palestinian refugees, though MAP fears the virus may soon spread rapidly amid the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in the country’s refugee camps.

HEALTH NEEDS THREATEN TO OUTSTRIP AVAILABLE FUNDING

Since March, MAP has been responding to the coronavirus pandemic across all areas by prioritising infection prevention and containment. MAP has provided hygiene kits to quarantined families, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Palestinian health workers, and antiseptics and disinfectants to help prevent further spread of the disease. MAP is also supplying out-of-stock medicines and disposables to Gaza’s hospitals, including for treatment of respiratory diseases.

“The international community must urgently increase their aid to the Palestinian people and to humanitarian organisations responding on the ground”- Programme Director Dr Andy Ferguson

In response to the Beirut explosion, MAP is supplying Palestinian Red Crescent Society hospitals with essential medical provisions including surgical, anaesthetic and X-ray supplies, lifesaving fluids and antibiotics and antiseptics/disinfectants. In Hebron, we have partnered with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society to provide a mobile clinic for marginalised communities in the Hebron area.

With Palestinian communities across the region hit by multiple simultaneous crises, demands for healthcare and other essential services threaten to rapidly outstrip what local and international organisations can provide. Despite the immediate and generous response from individual supporters and members of the public, MAP and other local and international actors are struggling to provide all that is needed.  An immediate boost in humanitarian funding from states, including the UK, is needed to stop this pan-regional healthcare emergency spiralling out of control.

Funding is needed to help Palestinian communities respond to the pandemic and to provide essential medical supplies and training for other urgent and ongoing healthcare needs. A concerted multilateral diplomatic effort is also needed to address the chronic injustices of occupation, displacement, discrimination and blockade that have long undermined Palestinian health, dignity and healthcare.

MAP Director of Programmes Dr Andy Ferguson said: “In the midst of a global pandemic, our teams and partners on the ground are also having to respond to multiple man-made crises that threaten to overwhelm Palestinian healthcare systems and to rapidly drive down health and wellbeing status of Palestinians across the region. The international community must urgently increase their aid to the Palestinian people and to humanitarian organisations responding on the ground, in order to give them a fighting chance to avert total calamity.”

(Source / 28.08.2020)

UNRWA delivers medicines, others services to homes of Palestinians in Gaza

UNRWA distributes food aid to families in Gaza, 2 April 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
UNRWA distributes food aid to families in Gaza, 2 April 2020

The UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said yesterday that it is running an emergency plan that includes delivering medicines and other services to people at home, the Shehab news agency reported.

In an interview with Al-Aqsa Voice, UNRWA’s spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said: “Our plan includes delivering services from door to door in order to keep people safe amidst the outbreak of the COVID-19 outside the quarantine centres.”

Abu Hasna said that UNRWA’s services will be delivered to the refugees and nonrefugees across the besieged Gaza Strip. He added that the traditional distribution of food parcels, calling people up to the distribution centres, was suspended according to the directions of the Ministry of Health.

The UN official said that there is a strong coordination with the World Health Organisation (WHO) regarding the outbreak of the pandemic, noting that the media is providing coverage of the “dangerous” situation in Gaza.

“Due to the exceptional circumstances related to the Israeli siege on Gaza and the dilapidation of the healthcare system,” he said, “every simple development is considered dangerous.”

He stressed that UNRWA is still suffering a budget deficit estimated to be $300 million.

READ: Qatar envoy lands in Gaza to ease Israel-Hamas tensions 

(Source / 28.08.2020)

Settlers accuse Netanyahu of imposing freeze on settlement construction

Thousands of people stage a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding his resignation over corruption cases and his failure to combat the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in Tel Aviv, Israel on 23 August 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]
Thousands of people stage a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding his resignation over corruption cases and his failure to combat the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in Tel Aviv, Israel on 23 August 2020 

Israeli settler leaders have accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of imposing a freeze on settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, Israeli media reported on Monday.

World Israel News reported leaders of the West Bank Settlement Council saying that the Israeli government has halted construction in the occupied Palestinian territories despite several announcements of building approvals during the last election cycle.

The news site reported the head of the Settlement Council David Alhayani speaking to the Jerusalem Post: “Planning has been frozen. For half a year, the council has not met. Each week, we’re told it will meet next week.”

Alhayani added: “We’re being played as if we’re a chip on a backgammon board.”

However, Anadolu reported Israeli rights group Peace Now saying that Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank is not only continuous but has increased.

Netanyahu’s office did not comment on the charges, Anadolu said.

Meanwhile, Yedioth Ahronoth reported the Settlement Council calling for Netanyahu to convene the High Planning Committee “urgently”.

READ: Anti-Netanyahu protesters turn out in defiance of police

(Source / 28.08.2020)

Palestine factions: Israel responsible for Palestinian lives amid Gaza coronavirus outbreak

Security forces wearing protective gear in Gaza on August 11, 2020 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]
Security forces wearing protective gear in Gaza on August 11, 2020

The Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip proclaimed on Thursday that they hold Israel fully responsible for the lives of Palestinians in the besieged enclave, in light of the outbreak of COVID-19, Safa News Agency reported.

The factions announced in a joint statement that they will not remain idle regarding the suffocating siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, especially after the surge in COVID-19 cases.

“If the siege is not lifted and all medical supplies are not brought in to confront the pandemic, we will not accept that our people suffer alone,” the statement read, calling on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to assume its responsibilities towards the enclave and provide the necessary medical supplies.

WATCH: Gaza on alert as 4 coronavirus cases detected

The statement also called on Arab and international human rights organisations to assume their responsibilities in supporting the Palestinian cause and the protection of civilians.

The total number of people infected with coronavirus in the Gaza Strip has increased to 129 cases, including 54 active cases and three deaths.

The Hamas-led Interior Ministry has imposed a six-day lockdown to limit the spread of the virus.

(Source / 28.08.2020)

Red Cross: Gaza will not be able to deal with coronavirus pandemic

Palestinian staff from the Ministry of Health take part in a simulation training, against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), organised by the Ministries of Health and the Interior, in Gaza on 18 July, 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Palestinian staff take part in training against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Gaza on 18 July 2020

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned on Wednesday that the health care system in the besieged Gaza Strip will not be able to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

ICRC Gaza Director, Ignacio Casares Garcia, said in a statement that the healthcare system in Gaza would not be able to deal with more than a few dozen coronavirus patients, adding that the treatment of COVID-19 patients requires medical and laboratory equipment and special supplies and medications that are not available in hospitals and health centres in the besieged enclave in sufficient quantities.

“The population of Gaza is under terrible strain. People are stressed; not only are they coping with just four hours of electricity a day; their worries over the virus have been hugely compounded and they are now under lockdown,” the statement said, adding: “Gaza had managed to prevent community transmission of the virus through a strict quarantine regime that had seemingly worked well until this week. That changed on Monday, with the announcement of confirmed cases outside of quarantine centers.”

The statement affirmed the ICRC’s unwavering support for the residents of Gaza Strip in facing the coronavirus, stressing on the need for all possible international assistance to confront the crisis.

READ: Gaza is in Covid-19 lockdown but Israel’s blockade and bombs continue regardless

The statement urged the residents of the Gaza Strip to strictly comply with the preventive measures taken to halt the outbreak of coronavirus.

“The ICRC has provided supplies and equipment, including vital ICU equipment, chlorine, personal protective equipment (PPE) and hospital supplies, and carried out infrastructure improvements in the hospital assigned to treat COVID19 patients in Gaza. More PPE is available and will be provided to the authorities soon,” it added.

(Source / 28.08.2020)

Pakistani-Saudi healthcare platform launches service in Yemen

A Yemeni baby receives medical care at a hospital in Yemen [Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency]
A Yemeni mother and her baby at a hospital in Yemen, 26 January 2018

A joint Pakistan-Saudi Arabian telehealth online platform is set to launch in Yemen to provide urgent maternity and childcare services amid the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis, Arab News has reported. Educast was first launched in Pakistan and has successfully trained hundreds of Pakistani doctors in the field of telemedicine since last year. It is now to be expanded into war-torn Yemen, which suffers from one of the highest mortality rates in the world.

According to Educast CEO Abdullah Butt, “Our main focus in Yemen will be maternal, neonatal and child health. [The authorities in Yemen have] granted us permission to start the telehealth operations under the e-Doctor programme.” The installation and testing of relevant equipment has been completed, he added, and operations will be launched in the first week of September.

In preparation for its expansion, Educast has put together a team of 200 licenced, Arabic-speaking female Pakistani doctors who are based in the Middle East. They will provide the consultancy services in Yemen online as well as through tele-clinics.

Displaced Yemenis suffer as aid shortfall closes clinics

Many of those doctors were trained by Educast with the academic support of Pakistan’s Dow University of Health Sciences in Karachi. The e-Doctor initiative was made possible by attracting female doctors who had left the profession for personal reasons, such as marriage.

“We have provided online training to 800 female e-doctors, working remotely from home in 15 countries,” explained Butt. “At present, through the platform, 450 women e-doctors are attached to Sindh government’s central coronavirus disease monitoring cell which remotely oversees thousands of Covid-19 patients.”

The ongoing pandemic poses a threat to the humanitarian and health situation in Yemen, with the country’s healthcare system one of the least prepared to deal with it. There have already been almost 2,000 infection cases within the country and at least 560 deaths.

The team will also reportedly be training local healthcare workers, according to the head of the e-Doctor operations in Yemen, Ghulam Mustafa Tabbasum. “Through this project female health workers, nursing staff and paramedics will be trained by experts using our online interaction lectures.”

Educast’s expansion into Yemen comes as a vital development at a time when Yemen’s health services are struggling with the pandemic and the effects of the war between the Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-backed Houthi militia since 2015. It was revealed last month, for example, that numerous healthcare workers are quitting their jobs in the country amid fears of the virus and that it has killed at least 97 of them so far.

Maternity care and childcare have among the most impacted sectors, with the UN warning in May that 320,000 pregnant women were at risk of losing access to vital healthcare, and adding in June that 2.4 million Yemeni children are at risk of starvation.

IOM: 100,000 displaced in Yemen in 2020 due to fighting, COVID-19

(Source / 28.08.2020)

Gaza closes roads to reinforce lockdown


Roads in Gaza are closed to reinforce the lockdown in order to stop the spread of coronavirus

Roads are closed to reinforce lockdown in Gaza, 28 August 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Roads are closed to reinforce lockdown in Gaza, 28 August 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Roads are closed to reinforce lockdown in Gaza, 28 August 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Roads are closed to reinforce lockdown in Gaza, 28 August 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Roads are closed to reinforce lockdown in Gaza, 28 August 2020 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Today marks the fourth day since Gaza was placed in lockdown with authorities blocking roads to ensure adherence to the new policies and stop the spread of coronavirus.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Interior and National Security, Iyad Al-Bazam, said in a press statement yesterday: “The decision to impose a lockdown is compulsory and we did not want to resort to it, and it costs us a lot of energy and expenses, and it carries a great burden, but it is important and necessary to reduce the spread of the virus.”

The Gaza Municipality has started to close streets and divide the cities into squares, leaving police officers in main roads at the intersections to impose the curfew.

Gaza was placed in lockdown on Tuesday after the first cases of COVID-19 in the general population were discovered.

The Ministry of Interior mobilised 19,000 members of the police and various security services, and all land and sea borders to Gaza were closed.

Red Cross: Gaza will not be able to deal with coronavirus pandemic

(Source / 28.08.2020)