Today, we witness the wickedness and injustice of the Zionist occupation in the face of a global pandemic. With the onset of COVID-19 in West Asia and North Africa region, lives are put at a greater stake in conflict-stricken areas including the Palestinian territories. Proxy wars and occupations have hampered and stunted the capacities of suffering countries to weather such a health crisis.
Israel’s lockdown of the Palestinian territories has long deprived the access of Palestinian people to basic necessities including food, water, electricity, and social services. Border and movement restrictions are heightened to contain the disease at the expense of the Palestinians risking their jobs especially for those that work in Israeli settlements. Meanwhile, the dismal healthcare is struggling to accommodate COVID-19 cases while providing treatment to the daily casualties from the Zionist offensives. Both Gazaand West Bank lack the medical facilities and are in shortage of the necessary supplies and equipment needed to cater to COVID-19 patients due to the blockade.
Worse, Israel is taking advantage of the pandemic to wage its war crimes. The Global Campaign to Return to Palestine continues to document demolitions, arrests, beatings, and shootings in the past month despite the state of emergency already in place in these territories. Even building materials are confiscated to hinder the setting up of a clinic in northern West Bank – a clear violation of the international humanitarian law.
At this point, the cooperation between Palestine and Israel can only do so much to address the pandemic. It can even be exploited to implement the US-Israel “Deal of the Century” to fast-track the annexation of the Palestinian land. Unveiled on 28 January 2020, US President Donald Trump’s “Vision for Peace” to resolve the 70-year conflict between Palestine and Israel would also facilitate corporate landgrabs by ushering in more than USD 50 billion new investments in the next ten years.
The call to reclaim the Palestinian land goes beyond the need for physical distancing. While the freedom of Palestine from the Israeli siege is indeed decisive to protect the Palestinians from contagious diseases and uplift their socio-economic conditions, it is more significantly a call for historical justice.
In solidarity with on Palestine Land Day* and amid the pandemic, PCFS echoes the call of the Palestinian people: free Palestine from the illegal and criminal Zionist occupation! Oppose the US-Israel Deal of the Century! ###
*The Palestine Land Day is a major annual commemoration for the Palestinian resistance. It marks the Palestinian people’s protests on 30 March 1976 against the Zionist expropriation of the historic Palestinian land. The protest was met with repression, with the Israeli government killing six and injuring hundreds.