Sir – Even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and at a time when UN Secretary General António Guterres and UN Special Co-ordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladnov, praised the co-ordination and co-operation between Israel and the Palestinian territories in its struggle to stem the spread of the virus, describing the efforts as “excellent”, we are once again witnessing the Palestinian pattern of shamelessly hijacking any item on the agenda of the international community for their propaganda purposes.
Be assured that since the beginning of this crisis Israel has been assisting the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. This includes facilitating the delivery of over 100,000 testing kits, as well as tens of thousands of masks, hazmat suits, disinfectant and medical equipment. In addition, numerous training workshops for Palestinian medical teams have been held in East Jerusalem hospitals.
Meanwhile, Fatin Al Tamimi's spurious claim (Letters, April 16th) that Israel "shut down emergency health facilities in the West Bank" is another example of this propaganda. An illegal structure built by a resident in the West Bank town of Bardala (without permits from either the Israeli or Palestinian authorities) was apparently too good an opportunity to pass up on. Why not claim instead it was an emergency health facility and watch the fallout?
With regard to Gaza, international aid consisting of hundreds of thousands of testing, protection and medical training kits, including the donation of a PCR machine by the World Health Organisation, were transferred to Gaza via Israel. Last week alone, 88 tons of medical supplies were transferred via the Kerem Shalom Crossing. Additionally, dozens of Gazan medical staff have been trained by Israeli teams at the Erez border crossing in techniques to treat patients infected with the virus.
A notable observation that this crisis has revealed is that Gazans do in fact travel. Gaza’s first two confirmed cases had recently returned from a conference in Pakistan attended by 250,000 people. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, since March 15th, some 1,400 incoming travellers from Egypt and Israel were sent to isolation for 14 days. Additionally, over 2,000 people who entered Gaza prior to March 15th were quarantined in their homes – so much for an Israeli siege of Gaza!
While Hamas, the terrorist dictatorship that rules Gaza, has announced it has run out of equipment and is currently awaiting supplies, it should be remembered that there is a global shortage of test materials. Meanwhile, in battling the virus within its own borders, Israel continues to pull out all the stops to help the Palestinians, remembering that Covid-19 doesn’t distinguish between people or borders. But for some, it’s so much easier to blame Israel. What’s new? – Yours, etc,
Ireland Israel Alliance,