Coronavirus update from Palestine (APRIL / MAY 2020)
Palestine is officially on lock down and the West Bank has more or less been shut down completely. The streets in Bethlehem and Ramallah remain completely empty this week, with all shops closed.
We can now confirm that 15 cases of the virus have been diagnosed in Gaza.
We think especially at this time of the people in Gaza. Many of us are anxious at the prospect of being on ‘lock-down’ at the moment. In Gaza, people already are forced to live under blockade and are living prisoners. Over 1,500 people in the besieged territory are now reported to be living in self-isolation at home. Schools in both the West Bank and Gaza are closed indefinitely. The World Health Organization says the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is very high. Due to overcrowding, the poor state of the healthcare system and the ongoing humanitarian crisis, the thought of a large scale outbreak in Gaza is horrific. This is why our campaigning work is so, so important. Gaza should not be shut off from the world and its resources.
*NEWS April 21st 2020: US to give Palestinians $5m in coronavirus aid (Just 1% of what Trump cut!)
The short video below is a report from the BBC this week (April 7)
Settler violence increases against Palestinians during the current Pandemic
As the current world health crisis continues, the oppression and injustice being carried out against Palestinians is only getting worse.
Settler and Jewish extremist violence against Palestinian’s has spiked by 78% during the last two weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic when compared to the rest of this year, the United Nations has reported.
Since Palestine went into lockdown, “at least 16 attacks by Israeli settlers resulted in five Palestinian injuries and extensive property damage,” the UN reported. “This represents a 78% increase compared to the bi-weekly average of incidents since the start of 2020,” it said.
As well as serious violence, there have been dozens of reports of vandelism and the uprooting of Palestinian-owned olive trees in Hebron.
You can read a full report from ‘The Jerusalem Post’ here.
We will keep you updated with information from Palestine as it emerges.
Lord of healing, we pray for those working in medicine and other essential services. Cast your net of protection, healing, and strength over them as they continue to work at this extremely challenging time. O God, at this time of increased fear and isolation we pray that the international community will respond actively to those calling for the end of occupation and blockade. Be with all those in fear both from the virus and of occupation and oppression.
We give thanks for all of those working to find solutions to the shortage of medical equipment around the world. We especially give thanks for those in Palestine who, with limited resources, are able to creatively think and create lifesaving machines.
Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
(Taken from the Sabeel Wave of Prayer – Thursday 9th April)