Palestinian health care workers in Israel are healing everyone while Netanyahu continues to label Palestinian legislators as terrorists.
By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Mar 25, 2020
‘If the thousands of Arab health workers — doctors, nurses, pharmacists —were to stay at home, the entire system would collapse…’ —Ephraim Halevy, former Mossad spy chief
The political news from Israel really could make you lose your mind right now.
A great number of the professionals who are helping Israelis fight the coronavirus pandemic are Palestinian: “18 percent of doctors and 24 percent of nurses and 47 percent of pharmacists,” according to Eli Kowaz of the Israel Policy Forum.
The Israeli health system would collapse without Palestinians. “If the thousands of Arab health workers–doctors, nurses, pharmacists–were to stay at home, the entire system would collapse,” former spy chief Ephraim Halevy wrote in Haaretz.
Israel’s longstanding political crisis didn’t end due to some altruistic desire to pull together in a time of crisis, it ended because Israelis were faced with a choice, work with Arabs or throw it all away.
By Miko Peled | MintPress News | Mar 27, 2020
Israeli racism is deeply institutional and deeply personal to a point where a career politician, in this case, Benny Gantz, gave up the chance to be Prime Minister because it meant he would need to rely on Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Once again, Benjamin Netanyahu wins big in Israeli politics. Even as his main opponent, former Israeli army chief Benny Gantz was given a mandate to form and head a coalition government, Netanyahu, indicted and presumed to be on his way out, managed to pull in Gantz, break up the Blue and White opposition party, stop the coalition from forming, and remain on top.
In an unprecedented upset, the Arab Joint List, a coalition of four predominantly Palestinian political parties, was able to win fifteen seats in the Israeli Knesset. This made them the third largest block within the legislature. They were going to support a Gantz-led government from the outside, which means they would not be a part of the actual coalition government. This is an enormous gesture on behalf of the Joint List, whose constituents are primarily Palestinian citizens of Israel, the country’s most disenfranchised group of citizens.
This article inspired by conversations in the UNESCO office in Ramallah.
By Ali Qleibo| This Week in Palestine| Mar 2020
The homes we live in, the neighborhoods, the services rendered, the consumer lifestyle, the values and norms, and the way people interact is a world view in which tangible and intangible cultural expressions interweave to impart Jerusalem its unique character.
The ever-shifting, elusive “character” of Jerusalem is a reflection of the dynamic needs, desires, and wishes of its inhabitants. Intangible culture is not merely the listing of professions and trades; it is the sung parodies that advertise the new seasonal cucumber (asabe’ el bubbu ya khyar), and the variety of recipes that Jerusalamites swap about the best way to prepare artichokes and ‘akkube (a wild form of artichoke) or preserve bitter oranges both as marmalade and sharab, or even how to construct a kite using dough instead of glue, bamboo, and newspaper sheets. It also includes visiting the cemetery to pray for one’s deceased close relatives after the early morning ‘Eid prayers and reciting the fatihah each time one passes by a cemetery, mausoleum, or maqam. It is the marking of the Muslim New Year with green olive twigs on house doors, the special sweets, and the family visits. The homes we live in, the neighborhoods, the services rendered, the consumer lifestyle, the values and norms, and the way people interact is a world view in which tangible and intangible cultural expressions interweave to impart Jerusalem its unique character. It is the human art of making life livable.
A petition for US leadership to provide humanitarian aid during this critical time.
By Michael Arria | Mondoweiss | Mar 27, 2020
‘If there was ever a moment to realize that we are in this fight together, it is now.’ — IfNotNow press release
A group of Senators has sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging the administration to supply Gaza and the West Bank with much-needed humanitarian aid. There are already are at least 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the West Bank and multiple individuals have tested positive for the virus in Gaza. Gaza has been under siege for years and the densely populated area is bracing for a potentially catastrophic situation. Trump has frozen nearly all aid to Palestine since January 2018.
“Given the spread of the coronavirus in the West Bank and Gaza, the extreme vulnerability of the health system in Gaza, and the continued withholding of U.S. aid to the Palestinian people, we are concerned that the Administration is failing to take every reasonable step to help combat this public health emergency in the Palestinian Territories,” reads the letter. It was lead by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), but was also signed by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
Lifting sanctions on Gaza and Iran would be a step towards global public health efforts.
By Dr. Alice Rothchild | Mondoweiss | Mar 26, 2020
Clearly, this is a time of grave urgency and the need for forward, global thinking. To survive as a planet, we need to take care of each other, it’s as basic as that.
The announcement that nine cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Gaza filled me with a new level of anxiety and despair. Gaza is at the beginning of the pandemic curve. With two million people crowded together in area six by twenty-five miles, 70 percent are refugees, 97 percent of the water contaminated and unfit for consumption, basic measures to prevent the spread of the virus will prove challenging. With above a 50 percent unemployment rate and a lack of supplies due to restrictions on the import of goods, it is impossible for families to stock up on essential items and shelter in place, let alone practice social distancing.
Cutting off funds to Palestine during a global pandemic would have devastating consequences.
By Michael Arria | Mondoweiss | Mar 24, 2020
‘If we do not receive additional pledges or those who have pledged do not make good on existing pledges, then we will run out of money at the end of next month,’ — UNRWA’s acting- Commissioner General Christian Saunders
In 2018, the Trump administration cut all funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Over five million people in the region rely on the organization for social services, but now their work has become even more crucial in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
Mondoweiss’s Yumna Patel produced this video in September 2018 outlining the potentially devestating impacts of the cuts:
The prospect of a Netanyahu-led unity government looms. How did we get here?
By Richard Silverstein | Middle East Eye | Mar 23, 2020
Best-selling author and historian Yuval Noah Harari has called these maneuvers ‘the first coronavirus dictatorship’.
Israel’s governing Likud party did not win the latest election, but it continues to cling to power, exploiting every dirty trick in the book. Now, it looks like it may well stay there.
The centre-right bloc dominated by the Blue and White alliance had edged past the 60-seat threshold to form a government, and on 15 March President Reuven Rivlin tasked party leader Benny Gantz with doing so.
Flash forward to 20 March and Gantz is saying, for the first time, that he would be willing to sit in a national unity government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Amid concerns about Rabbi Lehmann’s ‘Islamophobic statements and anti-Palestinian views,’ the GTU board accepted his resignation.
By If Americans Knew staff | If Americans Knew Blog | Mar 21, 2020
Upon being named GTU president in 2018, Lehmann’s statements to news media suggested that he had expected to change what he called GTU’s ‘progressive Christian’ orientation.
Rabbi Daniel Lehmann has resigned as president of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) after concerns surfaced about his ‘Islamophobic statements and anti-Palestinian views’. GTU is reportedly “the most comprehensive center for the graduate study of religion in North America.”
Based in Berkeley, California, GTU has long been known for its commitment to justice, peace, and interfaith cooperation. It consists of eight Christian schools and nine academic centers and affiliates. It includes diverse faiths, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism.
Upon being named GTU president in 2018, Lehmann’s statements to news media suggested that he had expected to change what he called GTU’s “progressive Christian” orientation.
Who could have imagined just a few days ago that Europeans would be confined to their homes and become persona non grata all over the world?
By Ahmed Abbes | Mondoweiss | Mar 18, 2020
How can I not think of the residents of Gaza who are prisoners of an inhuman blockade that has lasted for more than 13 years when I find myself confined to my home, forbidden to leave my house except for 5 reasons set by the government and provided that I have a certificate?
I should have been in Tunis Saturday March 14 to participate in the closing ceremony of Israeli Apartheid Week. I had invited the Palestinian researcher and documentalist Tarek Barki to give a lecture entitled “We Were and Still Are.. Here” which tells the past and the present of the ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages refuting the Zionist formula “a land without people… ” But by the end of the previous week, disturbing news about the spread of the Coronavirus in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa was starting to accumulate. Death in my soul, I resolved, Monday, March 9, with my friends, to postpone this long-awaited lecture to a later date. Since then, bad news has continued to pour in at an infernal rate.