The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor has strongly denounced the Israeli occupation forces for continuing to storm Palestinian cities, assaulting the civilian population without taking any preventive measures and completely ignoring the dangers such behavior might cause in light of the spread of coronavirus in Israel.
According to the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor 207 Israeli incursions into Palestinian cities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem have been carried out since the Palestinian government declared a state of emergency in its territories on March 6, 2020 as a preventive measure to control the outbreak of the novel coronavirus
These incursions included the arrest of 191 Palestinians, attacks on other dozens, and demolishing Palestinian houses. The majority of these operations took place without any preventive measures and without soldiers wearing appropriate masks to prevent the spread of the virus.
“During the same period, Israeli settlers carried out 19 infiltrations into Palestinian neighborhoods in the West Bank, along with carrying out attacks on the Palestinian population and their property,” the Euro-Med Monitor said.
The Euro-Med Monitor stressed that such Israeli practices would hinder Palestinian preventive measures to counter the spread of the virus, considering them a threat to the quarantine measures and social distancing adopted by the Palestinian Authority in line with the instructions issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Euro-Med Monitor also said it was following “with great concern reports of suspicious behaviors of Israeli soldiers and settlers, during the storming of Palestinian houses, as some of them spat at parked cars, ATMs and shop locks, which raises fears of deliberate attempts to spread the virus and cause panic in the Palestinian society.”
Anas al-Jerjawi, the Euro-Med regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said that the suspicious practices of Israeli forces during the storming of Palestinian cities would reinforce assumptions of hostility by the Israeli army and settlers against the Palestinian population.
Aljerjawi stressed the need to curb illegal Israeli violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially at a time the world suffers from the novel corona pandemic, warning that the persistence of Israeli incursions would raise the possibility of spreading the infection among the Palestinian population in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
“The danger of these incursions lies in light of the spread of the coronavirus in Israel, and the death of 16 Israelis, as 4,500 others tested positive, which means that every incursion of the Israeli forces or settlers represents a potential danger of spreading the virus in the Palestinian areas,” Euro-Med elaborated.
The Euro-Med Monitor also added that “Palestinian detainees face the risk of being infected with the virus as a result of direct contact with Israeli soldiers, or during investigations, as four detainees were suspected of being infected and were isolated in an Israeli prison.”
“While all countries are trying to ensure security and increase health measures and supplies to prevent the outbreak of the pandemic, on March 26, 2020, the Israeli forces confiscated eight tents in the northern Jordan Valley, two of which were set up as health clinics, and four others were built as shelters for citizens in the event of an emergency.”
“Since Monday morning, 23 March 2020, the Israeli authorities began deporting thousands of Palestinian workers working in Israel to the West Bank cities through checkpoints, after some of them showed fatigue and high temperatures. Most of the deportations took place without medical examinations or special arrangements with the Palestinian authorities.”
“These practices pose a public health threat and make it easier to spread COVID19 among Palestinians.”
“It is worth noting that the only death because of coronavirus in the Palestinian territories was a woman who had been infected by her son, who works in Israel. A large number of the 109 Palestinians infected with coronavirus were infected during work in Israel or Israeli settlements in the West Bank.”
Accordingly, the Euro-Med Monitor has held Israel, as an occupying power, fully responsible for such dangerous practices and called for ending them immediately.
The Geneva-based organization urged the international community to take action and shoulder its responsibilities to protect Palestinians and force Israeli forces to stop incursions that threaten preventive measures taken by the PA to control the outbreak of the coronavirus.
It also called for investigating the suspicious behavior of a number of soldiers and settlers, which appeared to be an attempt to spread the infection, and bringing those responsible to account.