Viral Occupation | COVID19 and the Occupation Economy
‘Who Profits’ have released a new and dynamic report where they monitor and analyze the unfolding coronavirus crisis in occupied Palestine. The report will be continually updated as new developments take place. You can find all the latest info from the report here.
The present crisis caused by COVID-19 has laid bare the inequality and violence at the heart of the current global economic system where profit accumulation comes at the expense of our collective rights. As people live in fear and uncertainty of the unfolding crisis’ impact, governments and corporate capital are seizing the opportunity to tighten their control and generate profit.
In this dynamic report, Who Profits will monitor the developments on the ground, providing analysis and sources of the unfolding of the COVID-19 crisis in occupied Palestine. Monitoring developments in Palestine is crucial not because Palestine is an exceptional case, but precisely because it is not. As one political economist put it, Gaza (and Palestine more broadly) may be “the proverbial canary in the COVID-19 coal mine.”
There is no doubt that for Palestinians living under occupation, the acute shortage of testing kits, protective gear and ICU capacity is only the tip of the iceberg. A host of structural issues inevitably compound the virus’ devastating impact.
While it is still too early to tell how the COVID-19 will impact the global and local economy, we can begin by posing the right questions with the following framing in mind:
- COVID-19 is not operating in a vacuum. As it spreads through Israeli-occupied Palestinian and Syrian land, it is interacting with the structures of occupation which, while far from novel, are every bit as adaptive, resistant and continually mutating as any member of the corona family.
- COVID-19 will not function as a ‘Great Equalizer’ – The myth that a pandemic does not discriminate between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the dispossessed, is patently false. An occupied and besieged population and a systematically de-developed economy are particularly vulnerable to both COVID-19 and the economic fallout.
- Desperate times legitimize repressive measures. Declaring a state of emergency often provides the pretext for the introduction of new repressive and exploitative measures and the entrenchment and legitimization of existing ones.
- What happens in Palestine does not stay in Palestine. A key reason Israel is continually looking to diversify its portfolio of repression is that it can later turn it outward for economic profit and political gains.