All hail the peacemakers 22
When people started to share the Facebook post “Dear world: How is the lockdown? – Gaza,” I felt uncomfortable. Though the posters sought to generate empathy for the 2 million Palestinians trapped in the Gaza Strip, the attempt to compare the closure that free citizens of the West are experiencing to the 13-year siege on the Strip is, at the very least, tasteless. Now that the virus has crossed the military checkpoints and 12 Palestinians have been diagnosed as infected, the distortion of this comparison is going to become tragically clear.
A group of radical settler youth who had been put in a military-run coronavirus quarantine facility attacked Palestinian campers and torched their cars overnight on Monday.
Israeli police have launched an investigation into the incident which took place in the southern West Bank, near the Dead Sea, but so far no suspects have been arrested.
According to an initial investigation, two Palestinians from Jenin and a third from Haifa, an Israeli citizen, set up their tent in a camping site near the quarantine compound. The settler youth approached them and asked for cigarettes, then returned to the quarantine compound. About 15 minutes later, they came back to the site and began throwing stones at the group of campers and set their two cars ablaze.
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has ordered a stop to testing for COVID-19 in the Gaza Strip, Maariv reported.
Previously, the IDF had said that it would conduct about 50 tests per day for Gaza residents at the military laboratory in Tzrifin. The decision to cancel testing was made after the IDF's initiative was not approved on the government level, and Bennett was not notified of the decision due to coordination issues inside the army, Maariv said. In total, only about 100 tests were done over the course of two days.
It took one year, three elections and a global pandemic, but Israel finally has a new government, and this time, it is one with a broader mandate than any other in recent memory.
This is mostly thanks to Benny Gantz who repeatedly said that he would not join a government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, only to join a Netanyahu-led government at the third time of asking.
He did so under the pretext of creating an emergency government to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. But this is not a government established to deal with any emergency. This is a government with the specific brief of determining when and over what further areas of territory occupied in 1967 Israel will start applying its sovereignty.
It will be interesting to see where the Blue and White Party is in the polls by the time Netanyahu is supposed to leave office in eighteen months-18 of the 33 MKs elected on the Blue and White slate in the last election split off to sit in opposition, and it's quite possible that the remnant of Blue and White which is a junior partner in the continuing Netanyahu ministry will now go into long term decline.
In any case, it is now a virtual certainty that Netanyahu will stay in power as long as he likes, and perhaps for life, with no progressive, pro-peace alternative anywhere close to emerging on the scene.
There will only be peace in the Middle East when Western powers stop interfering, Arabs and Persians accept the existence of Israel and a stronger Asia sphere serves as a balance of power.
Israel is the result of western powers' interference. There can and should be no acceptance of the existence of this murderous, racist apartheid settler- state and its ever increasing illegal occupation. Free Palestine. Down Israel.
Nabil Mattar is unable to fulfill his family’s needs.
Until recently, he sold cellphone accessories in Gaza’s markets. The restrictions introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have left him without an income.
“I used to earn $10 per day,” Mattar, a father of seven, said. “It was too small an amount to be able to save anything. I have no money to feed my children since I have stopped working.”
The loss affects his sense of dignity. “You cannot imagine how it feels for a father to stand helpless in front of his children,” he said.
Unemployment was already a major problem before the first cases of the new coronavirus were confirmed in Gaza during March.
The official unemployment rate in Gaza was 43 percent during the last few months of 2019. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, that meant more than 208,000 people were without work.
When Donald Trump announced his “Deal of the Century” at the White House in late January with Netanyahu at his side, many in Israel and the US dismissed it as an PR stunt to boost his election campaign. With Palestinians outright rejecting the plan and the Israeli right up in arms over potential recognition of Palestine, the plan appeared dead on arrival, and seemed to receive a death blow when Netanyahu failed to secure a right-wing majority in the last elections. Netanyahu, also facing a trial date for corruption and bribery, seemed to be out of options.