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Dr. Ashrawi: Israel Deliberately Undermining Palestinian Efforts To Combat COVID19 Pandemic

“Israel's detention of Jerusalem Minister Fadi Hidmi is an outrageous act of wilful sabotage of the Palestinian government’s concerted efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Palestine. He must be released immediately. Instead of focusing its efforts on oppressing Palestinians and preventing the Palestinian government’s efforts to provide Jerusalemites with assistance and needed healthcare to combat the spread of the virus, Israel must honour its obligations as an occupying Power under international law towards the Palestinian population under its illegal control.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, Israeli occupation authorities have been deliberately derelict of their obligations to carry out vigorous testing of the Palestinian population in and around Jerusalem. This criminally negligent behaviour is compounded by Israeli occupation authorities obstructing all Palestinian efforts to disinfect neighbourhoods, raise awareness, and provide assistance to families financially affected by the crisis. Repressive Israeli measures have sharply increased, especially those targeting Palestinian neighbourhoods and villages in and around Jerusalem, including nightly raids and arbitrary detentions, as well as harassment and detention of volunteers.

The United Nations Secretary General has called on all countries to silence the guns and focus on collectively saving humanity from this vicious pandemic that is ravaging societies around the globe. However, Israel has taken advantage of this global crisis to entrench its illegal occupation and increase its human rights violations. Israel’s occupation regime and illegal practices are the most dangerous and damaging factors undermining Palestinian efforts to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening the lives of tens of thousands of vulnerable Palestinians in Jerusalem and beyond.

Combating this pandemic requires global cooperation and solidarity. It also requires vigilance and accountability for human rights violations. We call on all responsible states to stand up to Israeli violations so that we can all focus our energies on saving lives.”

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