June 1, 2020
Updated: May 31, 2020
Welcome to the Health and Human Rights Media Watch. During the Coronavirus pandemic, we are curating a weekly timeline/update on the impact of the virus on Israel/Palestine and all related submissions to Media Watch will be folded into that report. Please follow at https://www.jvphealth.com/covid-19. Health and human rights news unrelated to the pandemic is included here. If you want to be involved in this JVP Health Advisory Council Media Watch project, please contact me at email@example.com.
We would first like to acknowledge the protests sweeping our country, protesting the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Tony McDade in Tallahassee, and Breonna Taylor in Louisville and our long history of police violence towards people of color. The Palestinian Boycott National Committee has released the following statement calling on the Palestine solidarity movement in the US and elsewhere to stand with the Movement for Black Lives and other Black-led organizations in their righteous struggle for justice.
With the deluge of information, we are also changing our weekly Human Rights Hero and Violation to a monthly report here.
Human Rights Heroes of the Month: Palestinians within '48 Israel
Volunteers attend a coronavirus testing station in the Arab town of Tira, February 4, 2020Credit: Eyal Toueg
Among Palestinian residents of Israel ’48, only 1,040 have been diagnosed with coronavirus, a rate of 0.64/1000, and only five of have died, a rate of 0.003/1000, compared to national rates of 1.9/1000 and .03/1000 respectively. Initially, Israeli government instructions weren’t even released in Arabic, and testing was not available until late March. According to Rasool Sa’ada, the Palestinian representative on Israel’s coronavirus task force, the community mobilized rapidly, motivated by more than just a fear of the virus: the awareness that it is a minority, and the fear of sparking hatred. “This is the first time in 70 years that we were part of an emergency event [which] are generally connected to wars and military operations, and in the best case we’re not part of it, and in the worst case we’re the enemy. This changed in the case of the coronavirus: The enemy entered people’s consciousness and they understood that if they didn’t defend themselves, they’d harm their families and our society’s elderly...There was unprecedented cooperation between the local authorities, the political leaders and Arab society,” he says, including thousands of volunteers, with Palestinian businesses contributing money for food and equipment.
Human Rights Violation of the Month: Israel obstructs coronavirus control measures in West Bank
Residents of al-Walaja have set up a checkpoint in a bid to contain the coronavirus.
Mustafa Bader (ZUMA Press)
Since a state of emergency was declared on 5 March, there have been hundreds of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the West Bank. In areas B and C, designated by the Oslo accords as zones of Israeli military control (and representing 81% of the West Bank), coronavirus has begun to spread to rural areas, where many residents are employed as laborers in Israel or Israeli settlements. With the PA’s police unable to enter the villages without permission from Israel, and a complete lack of services from Israeli authorities, locals are left to fend for themselves, resulting in a rapid spread of the virus. But when volunteers in the village of al-Walaja, between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, set up a makeshift checkpoint at the entrance to the village using large stones, armed Israeli soldiers forcibly removed it. In another instance, Israeli forces tore down a field clinic that was being set up in the northern Jordan Valley, and confiscated building materials and equipment for the center. “We are trying to fight this virus like the rest of the world, but we have to face the obstacles of coronavirus as well as the occupation,” said local activist Moataz Bisharat.
And here is the monthly Media Watch:
· A four-minute video shows how women living with cancer in Gaza inspired a training course to make wigs for personal use or for a trade. Electronic Intifada
· On May 13, Israeli forces killed 17-year-old Zaid Fadil Qaisiya in a raid on Fawwar refugee camp southwest of Hebron in the West Bank. After hearing a grenade, Zaid and his younger brother went to the roof of their family’s home to investigate. Zaid was killed by a shot to his head, and four others were injured when the Israeli military shot live ammunition into crowds of Palestinians.
· Each year the Ramadan holiday stirs up painful feelings for the Kasba family in the West Bank
about the multiple losses they have suffered at the hands of Israeli forces and the lack of
accountability for the murders of their three young sons.
· On May 15, the 72nd anniversary of the Nakba or “day of catastrophe,” dozens of Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces fired tear gas on anti-annexation protestors in al-Sawiya and Kafr Qaddum in the northern West Bank.
· You tube video of webinar with No Way to Treat a Child and updates on HR 2407 and advocacy tools.
· Israeli human rights group B’Tselem released the report This is Jerusalem: Violence and Dispossession in al-‘Esawiyah. Since April 2019, the Israel Police has been engaged in a campaign of abuse and collective punishment against the neighborhood of al-‘Esawiyah in East Jerusalem. The operation continues, despite social distancing restrictions announced by the government, putting the 22,000 local residents in danger. Israeli policy also includes continued land grabs and a policy of “no-planning” for construction and development. One of the poorest neighborhoods in Jerusalem, al-‘Esawiyah lies on the eastern slopes of the Mount Scopus ridge, hemmed in by an array of Israeli institutions, Jewish neighborhoods, military bases and roads built on its land. B’Tselem
· A list of questions and answers about Palestine and jurisdiction at the International Criminal Court, published by Al-Haq on April 30, 2020.
· UNRWA which is responsible for the health care and education of millions of Palestinian refugees only has enough funding to pay healthcare workers until the end of the month. In 2018 the US, UNRWA’s largest donor, cut $350 million in annual aid. The spread of the coronavirus, known officially as Covid-19, has renewed calls in the US to resume funding for UNRWA.
· Mustafa Younes, a 27-year-old Arab-Israeli, was shot dead in Tel Aviv by security guards outside Sheba Hospital, where he regularly sought treatment for his epilepsy and mental health issues. Israeli police claim Younes tried to stab one of the security officers before he was shot seven times. Arab social media roiled in pain and anger. Videos and other images from the field show an excessive and disproportionate use of violence on the part of the hospital security guards. The incident described in Hebrew parlance as a “stabbing incident” is looking more like an execution of a Palestinian Arab citizen, the 58th Arab Israeli citizen shot to death by police since 2000.
· Electronic Intifada investigates the minister newly appointed to coordinate Israel’s response to judicial scrutiny by the International Criminal Court, Ze’ev Elkin – a settler who has recommended a full takeover of the al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem. Israel’s attorney general has warned Netanyahu that annexation would be indefensible at the ICC. During the first meeting of the current Israeli government, Netanyahu said he considered the ICC “a strategic threat to Israel” and that preventing an investigation was one of his top priorities.
· Amiram Ben Uliel, a 25-year-old Jewish settler, was convicted of murdering three members of a Palestinian family in a 2015 “revenge” firebombing of their home in the West Bank. Saad and Riham Dawabsha and their 18-month-old son Ali, died as a result of the attack; Ali’s four-year-old brother, Ahmed, survived but sustained severe burns. BBC News
· The investigation of the attack that killed three members of the Dawabshe family in their sleep is the exception that proves the rule that Israeli law enforcement authorities do not ascribe great importance to the investigation of crimes against Palestinians. This is true both in cases of severe violence and in day-to-day settler violence that has become the norm for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. For 15 years, Yesh Din has closely monitored the ways in which law enforcement agencies treat offenses committed by Israeli citizens against Palestinians in the West Bank. Approximately 91 percent of these files were closed after the investigations were concluded without an indictment.
+972 · Jewish terrorism: Ashkenazim provide the fuel, Mizrahim light the match. Israeli leaders have imbued generations of Mizrahim with a hatred for both Arabs as well as their own Arab identity. Natan Eshel, a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was taped saying that “hate is what unites” the right-wing camp led by the Likud party, and that negative campaigning works well with “non-Ashkenazi” voters. The results have been deadly.
· Biden, who vowed not to reverse the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem, said that he would try to re-open the PLOs diplomatic mission in Washington, reopen the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem, and resume the decades-long economic and security assistance efforts to the Palestinians that the Trump Administration stopped."