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Israeli government uses Corona crisis to further its political agenda
Mar 25, 2020 at 12:00 AM

In many Israeli hospitals, Jewish and Palestinian doctors work side by side. Right-wing politicians who oppose the participation of Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Knesset (parliament) are more than willing to have Palestinians risk their lives fighting this deadly virus. But the practices of the Israeli government in providing health services to its citizens are highly discriminatory. As guest columnist Suha Salman-Mousa explains, they appear to be guided by a desire to protect Jewish citizens of Israel while mostly ignoring its non-Jewish citizens.

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Opinion: Coronavirus Confirmed in Gaza: This Is What Israel Must Do – Now
Mar 22, 2020 at 12:00 AM

The identification of the first two cases of coronavirus in Gaza is a frightening moment for its inhabitants. But there are immense legal and moral ramifications for Israel, the occupying power

The first two cases of the coronavirus have now been confirmed in the Gaza Strip, with those individuals reportedly entering Gaza through Egypt, having traveled from Pakistan. 

This is an incredibly frightening development, with potentially devastating consequences for those living in the enclave. If COVID-19 spreads in Gaza, and particularly if it spreads across the territory, the ramifications are absolutely immense for both Gazans - but also for Israel as an occupying power. 

This is a long-overdue time of reckoning for Israel. It must finally step up and accept responsibility for its imprisonment of two million human beings for almost 13 years. Israel has acted with almost complete disregard for Gazans’ basic human rights without expecting considerable repercussions, for the people of Gaza, but also for itself. The situation in Gaza is grave and has been for a long time, but with COVID-19 there is the potential for it to become far worse.

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Welcome to Lockdown: Covid-19 Quarantine and the Gaza Experience
Mar 23, 2020 at 12:24 PM

In 2004, I was selected by the Palestinian Ministry of Telecommunication to attend the International Telecommunication Union Annual Congress in Hong Kong. Although I had the visa, the ticket, and packed bags, I was not able to travel as Gaza was put on partial quarantine by the Israeli military that controlled the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. On my way to the Rafah crossing, I had to stop at two main military checkpoints; both of them were involved in splitting the Gaza Strip into cantons, imposing a relatively harsh lock down on millions of the Palestinians for months. Employees, students, patients, and travellers, as well as basic supplies and goods, were not allowed to move between the main parts in the Gaza Strip. That day, the Israeli military did not allow the car through that I was in, and I had to go back to Gaza city. No reasons were given to us as to why we could not cross. That was a normal, unjustified practice that heightened our sense of frustration and hopelessness. In 2006, Israel, after it withdraw from the Gaza Strip as well as after the Palestinian elections that brought Hamas to the political arena, imposed a quarantine on two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, not allowing anyone to leave or move in or out of the Gaza Strip, restricting essential goods and services from entering the Gaza Strip, making it unbearable to a living human being.

These days, as the world faces a global pandemic of Coronavirus outbreak without discrimination between race, nationality, region, or class, there is a unique thing that unites us all, which is quarantine, and in some places a curfew. This quarantine reminds me of the lock down I experienced in Gaza.

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Israel’s caging of Gaza is a recipe for coronavirus disaster
Mar 22, 2020 at 12:00 AM

The pandemic's arrival threatens to make Gaza even more unlivable under Israeli siege. Humanitarian aid is not enough — Palestinians need freedom.

The Palestinian Health Ministry today reported its first two cases of the novel coronavirus in the Gaza Strip. For weeks the Hamas-led authority, which has ruled the blockaded territory since 2007, undertook serious measures to preempt the arrival of the virus to the strip. Up until its decision to seal off its sides of the Rafah crossing with Egypt and the Erez checkpoint with Israel, hundreds of Palestinians who entered the strip were immediately quarantined to ensure they had no symptoms of the disease.

These actions, however, are of very little comfort.

It is no exaggeration to say that the prospect of COVID-19 spreading in the Gaza Strip is terrifying. This year, 2020, is the year in which the United Nations and other international agencies predicted that Gaza would become “uninhabitable.” If Israel’s 13-year blockade and isolation of the strip continued, they warned, Gaza’s most basic services and its capacity to sustain itself would collapse.

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Covid-19 Comes to Gaza
Mar 22, 2020 at 12:00 AM

It was almost 1 a.m. when I read the news that Gaza had identified its first two coronavirus cases. My heart beat rapidly and fear flushed like ice water through my body. I continued to read but my eyes teared up and everything looked blurred, like a gauzy curtain had suddenly dropped down. I attempted to blink the tears out of my eyes and continue reading.

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A coronavirus coup in broad daylight
Mar 19, 2020 at 12:00 AM

As democracy goes into quarantine and surveillance of citizens becomes the norm, Israel is heading straight for an autocracy run by Benjamin Netanyahu.

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A state of emergency provides the government with an opportunity to corrupt power itself, promote foreign interests, and go after political rivals using tools and methods that the government wouldn’t be able to use on an ordinary day due to stiff resistance from the opposition. A state of emergency gives the government the opportunity to exploit the fear and uncertainty of the public, which is busy dealing with private or family issues and the (real or imagined) threats around the corner, to take steps unthinkable in times of normalcy.

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Two-faced baloney: Israel-Palestine and the rule of law in Ottawa
Mar 19, 2020 at 12:00 AM

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Most recently, Champagne called upon the International Criminal Court to suspend its investigation of Palestine's complaint against Israel. It clearly believes Israel has the right to do as it pleases with impunity.

Here in Canada, the Trudeau government defends Israel's right to traffic its settlement products on store shelves, tariff-free and beneath "product of Israel" labels, effectively endorsing their de facto annexation and concealing their criminal origin from law-abiding Canadian consumers. Even though its official position is that settlements impede the creation of a truly sovereign Palestinian state -- an outcome it claims to support.

So, what are the "global rules, principles and protections" Champagne's government is willing to violate in exchange for cozy relations with Israel? They are the most foundational norms of modern international humanitarian and human rights law -- some of them incorporated into Canadian domestic legislation.

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Threats to funding force football charity to dump Ken Loach
Mar 18, 2020 at 12:00 AM

Show Racism the Red Card has capitulated to demands it drop Ken Loach as a judge in its schools competition, after an Israel lobby intimidation campaign said to have threatened its “very existence.”

However the charity, which works against racism in football, emphasized that Loach remains “a member of our Hall of Fame, in tribute to the work he has done over many years in combating racism and his support is greatly appreciated.”

Earlier this month the charity announced that it was standing by its appointment of the socialist filmmaker as a judge of their annual schools competition, alongside children’s poet and author Michael Rosen.

But in a new statement on Wednesday, the charity said that they and Loach “have together agreed that Ken will not act as a judge” for this year’s competition.

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The campaign about doctors and torture in Israel five years on
Feb 22, 2020 at 12:00 AM

Rapid Response:

Israeli doctors continue to enable Israeli intelligence agency's torture industry

Dear Editor,

As a follow-up to previous BMJ correspondence on this subject, I wish to add that the active complicity of Israeli doctors with torture in Israel continues. (1) This is not only doctors attached to the intelligence agency Shin Bet or working in the Israel Prison Service, but also doctors in emergency rooms across Israel who write false medical reports. I write as a doctor and as founder of Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), whose detailed case studies “Ticking Bombs” (2007) and “Doctoring the evidence, abandoning the victim” (2011), assembled irrefutable evidence for these practices. (2) (3)

These abuses go back many years. In June 1993 I organized an international conference in Tel Aviv on behalf of PHRI regarding torture in Israel. At the conference, I highlighted a Shin Bet medical eligibility form discovered by chance by an Israeli journalist. The Shin Bet doctor was asked to certify whether the prisoner could be kept in isolation, whether they could be tied up, could be hooded, and whether he could be made to stand for prolonged periods of time. This was in effect a “fitness for torture” form to be signed by the doctor. Four years later, a second form, suspiciously similar to the first, came to light, yet Shin Bet always denied that it had ever existed. At the time PHRI asked the Israel Medical Association (IMA) to take action, as they are mandated to do as a member of the World Medical Association (WMA)- the WMA’s Declaration of Tokyo forbids any doctor to collaborate with torture, and directs them to speak out and protect the patient when torture is suspected. The IMA would not act.

Our findings were published in the book “Torture: Human Rights, Medical Ethics and the case of Israel” (1995) whose sale in Israel appears to be banned.

https://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g4386/rr-2

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Women's Boat to Gaza Captured

Zaytouna-Oliva Women Deported
Details Emerge about the Capture

Messina, Italy:  All 13 of the women on the Women’s Boat to Gaza are currently in the process of deportation after being captured by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and detained in a prison at Ashdod. Wendy Goldsmith, a member of the land team working to secure the release of the women stated that, “the deportation was much quicker than in prior flotillas. While we had a great legal team assisting the women, we suspect that the reason for the quick release was because of all the negative media attention Israel has been receiving for its illegal interception.”

According to early reports from the women released, the Zaytouna-Oliva was surrounded by two warships along with four to five smaller naval boats. The IDF gave warning to the Zaytouna-Oliva to stop their course towards Gaza. When the warning was refused, at least 7 IDF members, both male and female, boarded the Zaytouna-Oliva and commandeered the sailboat. This happened in international waters.

In the course of their capture, the women persisted in telling the IDF that Israel’s interception of their boat was illegal and that they were being taken against their will to Israel. 

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