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Unrestrained apartheid

THE PALESTINE ANNEX: Israel was quick to portray the Palestinians as carriers of the virus and as a health threat. Today, the Gaza crisis is territorial, demographic, political – and biological.

The ongoing global demand for aid and solidarity to curb infections and deaths from COVID-19 generally meet positive attitudes, but such initiatives were outside the Israeli authorities' hearing. At least when it came to his neighbors – the Palestinians.

Da Israel expected to lend a helping hand against growing epidemic infections, they refused to ease the iron grip forced on the Palestinians.

UN Nickolay Mladenov

Despite what should be called a "common enemy", he expressed FN a "glimmer of hope" when Nickolay Mladenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, pointed to the "inspirational examples" of cross-conflict collaboration in a joint war to hold back the new outbreak of the corona virus – and opened new avenues for progression in the pursuit of peace.

"Recognizing this independence – if it is politically motivated – can be translated into a tangible process to resolve the conflict," he said, noting how Israel and Palestine – with UN support – coordinates its efforts against COVID-19.

Photo: Aiman ​​Nubany
Photo: Aiman ​​Nubany

Nevertheless, this "little pleasure" disappeared immediately when Mladenov expressed his concern about both the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz's intentions to advance in the annexation of vast areas of the West Bank from July: "Measures to annex land and accelerate more settlements, combined with the overwhelming impact of COVID-19, can set fire to the situation and destroy any hope for peace, "he said. "The path of unilateral action will only lead to more conflict and suffering."

On the ground, punitive attacks against the Palestinians have continued as the Israeli forces have used the excuse of increased police personnel to carry out attacks on the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

Bethlehem was shut down

A shocking incident occurred in April when residents of Beit Iksa, close Jerusalem, reported Israeli settlers spitting on cars entering and exiting a village surrounded by illegal settlers. Evening home with the soil in the city of Kafr Qasim and disappointing crops in the country's Bedouin districts was also not stopped.

This was outside the prison walls, but inside did not go much differently: When four Palestinians tested positive for the coronavirus, Israeli authorities ignored this, rather than release nearly 5000 Palestinians (including 180 minors) who were behind bars. And in Gaza there is not a single sign that one wants to soften the 13-year blockade.

The Israeli apartheid-like approach went deeper as the authorities were quick to portray the Palestinians as carriers of the virus and as a health threat.

Photo: Aiman ​​Nubany
Photo: Aiman ​​Nubany

Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett was quick to shut down the city of Bethlehem in March as soon as the Palestinian government reported the first seven cases of the coronavirus on Palestinian territory – then in the occupied territories where the Israelites have been strictly advised not to travel.

The Israeli targets were undoubtedly not taken for Palestinian city security, but against the risk of the virus spreading to the Israelites. This even though "Efrat", the nearby settlement that had also reported infections, was not shut down as it was done in the holy city.

Crowded hospitals

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Nadia Othman
Othman is a regular correspondent for Ny Tid, living in Gaza.
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