From Covid-19 to the ‘Deal of the Century’ — Palestine and international law

Gaza, September 2019. This apartment block was destroyed by the Israeli military on 25 August 2014.  Palestinian artists sought to highlight the plight of this displaced community. ( photo: Media 24 / Gaza
Does the current moment necessitate the consideration of civil disobedience and a mass nonviolent movement in the near future across the occupied Palestinian territories?

By Yaser Alashqar ] |  Mondoweiss |  Apr 8, 2020

Reaffirming international law and human rights for Palestinian people under occupation, the World Health Organization has emphasized that ‘Israel, as occupying power, retains the primary responsibility to respect, protect and fulfill the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health in the occupied Palestinian territory.’

As of April 5th, the occupied Palestinian territories, Gaza and the West Bank including East Jerusalem, have registered 228 cases of Covid 19 (Coronavirus) and one death. While Covid 19 represents a difficult challenge to advanced nations and their strong healthcare systems, it poses a more complex and dangerous challenge to conflict zones and occupied territories, such as Palestine. Decades of displacement, dispossession, conflict, military occupation and blockade have weakened existing medical services and systemically disregarded Palestinian rights to life and health.

The Israeli occupation regime, including the checkpoints and permits system, has fragmented Palestinian towns and villages and impeded their access to healthcare. Palestinian communities in Area C, which comprises approximately 60% of the West Bank and includes the majority of Israeli settlements, suffer from deeper isolation and marginalization. They lack access and connection to the rest of the West Bank and they, unlike the Israeli residents of the nearby settlements, do not enjoy protection and healthcare support from the Israeli government.

Similarly, for East Jerusalem Palestinians living under occupation, accessing Israeli social services is determined by a discriminatory system of ‘residency’ criteria. Such an unjust system leaves them vulnerable to forced eviction and expulsion from their own homes and land.

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