Israeli, Palestinian COVID prevention efforts falter

A photo from inside the Central Laboratory of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the city of Ramallah, West Bank A photo from inside the Central Laboratory of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the city of Ramallah, West Bank Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency

21 July 2020

Civilians face high risk as cooperation breaks down amid coronavirus crisis

A dramatic increase in coronavirus cases in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel has impacted the cooperative efforts of Israel and Palestine. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have placed restrictions on movement back into effect. As the restrictions are reenacted, prevention efforts have begun failing in the West Bank. On 20 July, Wafa news agency reported that Israeli soldiers destroyed a Palestinian coronavirus testing center. In Israel, the pandemic has caused an alarming economic crisis. As of 21 July, unemployment in Israel was at 20 percent. Protestors took to the streets calling on their government to offer more aid. 

The United Nations (UN) has been engaging with both sides to ensure that humanitarian aid is distributed to those in need. In his brief to the Security Council, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov explained that the UN has limited capabilities because of the restrictions put in place. He emphasized that responsibility lies with both the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. On 21 July, The World Health Organization reported that the number of coronavirus cases in Israel is at 49,081 while the West Bank and Gaza has 10,052 reported cases.  

During the Security Council’s monthly debate on the conflict, several world leaders supported Secretary-General António Guterres’ call for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to abandon his plans to annex portions of the West Bank. Mladenov also requested that the leaders of Israel, Palestine, and neighboring countries restart diplomatic discussions toward peace. He urged that a two-State resolution must be agreed upon and must follow UN resolutions and international law.

 

To read more, please visit:

https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/07/1068791

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/israel-protest-pm-handling-pandemic-economic-crisis-200722102206443.html

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200720-israel-soldiers-destroy-palestinian-coronavirus-testing-centre/

 

Author: Vito Quaglia

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