Myths about Gaza

 

4/27/20

 

Since the Coronavirus crisis began, IfNotNow has focused most of our movement’s resources on supporting the millions of Palestinian people trapped in Gaza, a densely populated strip of land that Israel’s military blockade has turned into an open air prison. Together, we gathered 13,000 signatures on a petition demanding the Israeli government lift the blockade and act to protect Gaza. And we have raised over $15,000 to provide direct medical aid to Gaza.

We did all this because the Israeli blockade — combined with Israel’s regular military assaults — have weakened Gaza’s public health system, and we know that an outbreak in Gaza would have devastating consequences.

We also know that the American Jewish establishment have defended and justified the Israeli military blockade of Gaza since it began 13 years ago. The myths they have created and perpetuated have paved the way to a complete dehumanization of the millions of people living in Gaza and a failure to put forward any serious political solutions to this crisis.

So this week, IfNotNow is organizing a digital education campaign around the 5 myths that the American Jewish establishment uses to justify the Israeli military blockade on Gaza. We’re going to explore not just the inaccuracies of these myths, but also the harm they’ve done to Palestinians.

Each day we will be debunking one new myth, each of which will be all too familiar to people who follow the news or have formal Jewish education.

We’ve been countering these myths and holding our community to account for perpetuating them since our founding, during the War on Gaza in summer 2014. And we have successfully shifted the conversation towards one that prioritizes freedom and dignity for all Palestinians and Israelis rather than endless occupation.

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Gantz-Netanyahu deal legitimizes annexation

The possibility of further Israeli annexation of occupied territories has received legitimacy from the Israeli government, pushing even further into the abyss the slight possibility of a two-state solution.

The Palestinian village of Nazlat Isa in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is seen behind the Israeli barrier from the Arab-Israeli village of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Israel, Feb. 1, 2020. (REUTERS-Ammar Awad)

Daoud Kuttab, Al-Monitor, Apr 21, 2020

After over 53 years of occupation, an Israeli government is on a path to further annex occupied Palestinian territory. On June 28, 1967, the Israeli Knesset approved a decision to annex East Jerusalem to Israel and on April 20, 2020, the government partnership agreement laid the groundwork for what officials call “extension of Israeli sovereignty.”

The agreement signed April 20 between former Israeli army chief Benny Gantz and caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu places some conditions before this is to take place. Under the deal, the Israeli government or the Knesset can begin annexation proceedings July 1 based on the peace plan of the Donald Trump administration.

PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Saeb Erekat reacted angrily to the deal, saying it rules out any negotiated peace agreement. “A government coalition based on a commitment to annex more occupied Palestinian territory is a threat to a rules-based world order in general, but to peace, security, and stability in the Middle East in particular,” Erekat said in a statement following the announcement of the new Israeli government.

Hanan Ashrawi, a PLO Executive Committee member, said the Israeli political establishment has united on the agenda of permanent colonization and annexation. “It is now very clear that Israeli political parties are unequivocally committed to the entrenchment and permanence of the conflict as well as the perpetual oppression of the Palestinian people with the full support and backing of the Trump administration, which is clearly intent on implementing its dangerous and objectionable plan.” 

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Second Appeal in the COVID-19 Crisis

Ref: 36/2020
Date: 14 April 2020
Time: 10:00 GMT

 

Second Appeal in COVID-19 Crisis

PCHR Calls for Immediate Release of Minors, Women, Patients and Elderly among Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails

At a time where the whole world is combating the coronavirus pandemic and States have adopted precautionary and preventive measures to defy the virus, Israeli authorities maintain the imprisonment of more than 5,000 Palestinians, including 180 children, 43 women, and more than 700 patients in harsh and unsanitary conditions that are inhumane to say the least.

Imprisonment conditions for Palestinians in Israeli jails do not meet the minimum international standards guaranteed under the international humanitarian law (IHL), as Israeli prisons provide inadequate living conditions, and they are crowded.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has been closely following the concerning updates relevant to the reality of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails with the spread of coronavirus. Despite PCHR’s numerous and urgent interventions with the Israeli authorities, and its continued demands that Israeli authorities adopt immediately and urgently the necessary measures to protect inmates from the coronavirus pandemic, Israeli authorities have adopted a number of measures that further violates prisoners’ rights. Israeli authorities have adopted strict new measures, including banning visitations with prisoners’ families, and prisoners’ lawyers since 17 March 2020, without offering an alternative mean to ensure prisoners have constant contact with their families and lawyers.

Additionally, Israeli authorities have neglected the continued and urgent requests for the immediate release of Palestinian prisoners who are considered at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, the elderlies and the chronically ill in particular.

Making matters worse, Physicians for Human Rights received a shocking decision by the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) rejecting its petition to the Court demanding it order the Israel Prison Service (IPS) and the Ministry of Health to ensure proper medical services are provided for Palestinian prisoners, and take necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus within the prison system. The Court had determined that the petition did not include any legal demands that warrants its intervention; thus, it was refused.

The current situation is no different to the ongoing Israeli policy of medical negligence against Palestinian detainees, despite HCJ’s recognition in its decision of the seriousness of this deadly virus and the death rate of those affected is significantly higher among elderlies and patients suffering from chronic diseases, including heart disease, high-blood pressure and diabetes. However, HCJ’s decision ignored the need to take serious measures to protect the lives of prisoners in these categories of this deadly virus, including the need to immediately release them.

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April 22, 2020
Gaza in Context Webinar

This webinar is part of a series of virtual events to raise funds for the Let’s Get Free 2020 Program. We are requesting a donation to join the webinar, from $0 – $50. Additional donations are welcome! Can’t attend? Donations are always welcome: DONATE HERE

Eyewitness Palestine & the March for Racial Justice are excited to host

    Learning For our Liberation:
    Gaza in Context’s Lessons for Today’s Struggles for Justice
    April 22nd – 6pm EST – Zoom Webinar
    Featuring Noura Erakat
    Human Rights Attorney, Activist, Scholar and the Film’s Co-director and Writer
    Participants of the Let’s Get Free Program

Gaza in Context
"Israel’s deliberate fragmentation of the Palestinian people and their land for the past 70 years has also fragmented the Palestinian narrative and struggle for rights. This is just one reason why it is vital that efforts to stop and reverse Israel’s colonization project adopt a holistic framework of analysis.Gaza in Context does just that: It zeroes in on Israel’s repeated assaults against the besieged strip but then broadens out to show how Israel’s attacks on Gaza are part of a consistent plan against the entire Palestinian people, a plan that from day one has sought to minimize the number of Palestinians in historic Palestine and maximize the number of Israeli Jews. The 20-minute film and accompanying educational materials succinctly provide the missing context in so many accounts of the conflict. It is an excellent entry point for the many thousands who are beginning to support Palestinian rights and an important refresher for others that have been involved in the movement for longer. Spread the word!"
~ Nadia Hijab, Executive Director, Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network
Learn more about Gaza in Context

Let’s Get Free Program
For Black youth growing up in D.C. today, the natural disaster of COVID-19 is layered right on top of a human-created disaster for Black people. The system tries to stop Black youth from thriving at every step: mass development displaces Black families, lack of medical facilities denies Black youth care, transportation gaps separate their communities from economic opportunity, and the criminal legal system pushes children straight from schools to prisons.

Through a delegation to Palestine in 2020 with Eyewitness Palestine, Black D.C. youth will have the opportunity to learn and identify methods and practices from the people of Palestine who are engaged in a daily fight for their survival. Having the chance to witness the beautiful, determined strength and love of a people suffering from White Supremacy/Settler Colonialism will change the lives of these youth forever and create clarity on the existing systems designed to destroy any resemblance of self-determination and liberation and most importantly, develop tactics to fight back against these systems.
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Tarek Abuata: Human Rights in Palestine During the Pandemic

Recorded on WORT 89.9 FM A Public Affair with host Esty Dinur: WORT websiteSoundCloudFacebookTwitter

Tarek Abuata grew up in Bethlehem and moved with his family to Texas during the first Intifada when he was 12. After graduating from the University of Texas Law School, he worked in Ramallah researching legal and policy issues. From 2004 to 2007, he trained Palestinian youth in grassroots organizing and activism, and from 2007 to 2016 he was the coordinator of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron. He has been the Executive Director of FOSNA since 2016. In his work in the U.S., Tarek is most interested in connecting struggles at home and abroad for peace, justice and freedom.

Coronavirus and Gaza

DONATE!

Here are three good options for sending medical relief to Palestine and Gaza:

  • Rebuilding Alliance has a matching grant deadline of midnight EST on Friday, March 27: Closed

  • The Middle East Children’s Alliance needs to raise $45,000 ASAP for a targeted prevention campaign in Gaza: Donate
  • Finally, United Nations Relief and Works Administration (UNRWA) is appealing for emergency funds for all of Palestine: Donate

INFORMATION

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March 28, 2020
Webinar: Film Gaza Fights For Freedom by Abby Martin

Social Justice Event Collective, March 5, 2020

Please join us for a film webinar on March 28th, 2020 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time for the screening of Gaza Fights for Freedom, a film by US journalist Abby Martin.

This screening is presented by Social Justice Event Collective and co-hosted by Canadian Boat to Gaza, Independent Jewish Voices-London, Ontario and People for Peace-London, Ontario.

The original event was to be held during Israeli Apartheid Week on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

We have postponed the event to be held through a Zoom online webinar. You may register in advance for this webinar here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Film-maker Abby Martin will join us after the screening to discuss the making of her documentary, including a questions and answers period. Filmed during the height of the Great March Of Return protests, it features riveting exclusive footage of demonstrations. The documentary tells the story of Gaza past and present, showing rare archival footage that explains the history never acknowledged by mass media. You hear from victims of the ongoing massacre, including journalists, medics and the family of internationally acclaimed paramedic, Razan al-Najjar. At its core, ‘Gaza Fights For Freedom’ is a thorough indictment of the Israeli military for war crimes, and a stunning cinematic portrayal of Palestinians’ heroic resistance.

We will also be joined by a Gaza participant from We Are Not Numbers for a questions and answers period.

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Palestinians report 1st cases of coronavirus in Gaza Strip


Workers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus, at the main market in Gaza City, Thursday, March 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

FARES AKRAM, Associated Press, March 22, 2020

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Palestinian Health Ministry announced early Sunday that two residents who returned recently from Pakistan to the Gaza Strip tested positive for the coronavirus, the first cases to be diagnosed in the Palestinian enclave.

The development added to fears of a potential outbreak in crowded Gaza, which has an overstretched health care system after years of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, cross-border conflicts with Israel and Palestinian political division.

Hundreds of Gazans have returned home in the past two weeks, but only 92 people have been examined, highlighting the territory’s limited tested capacity.

Gaza has been mostly cut off from the world as Israel and Egypt imposed severe movement restrictions following the 2007 takeover by the militant Hamas group. This is believed to have delayed the arrival of the virus.

Israel and Egypt in the past two years relaxed some travel restrictions on Gaza’s 2 million residents, but they closed their borders again last week as those two countries struggle to contain the coronavirus spreading on their territories. Gaza residents are still allowed to return home.

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Help Palestinians in Gaza survive Coronavirus

If Not Now, March 20,2020

We have an opportunity to save thousands of lives — if we act now.

As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps our country and the world, I am watching everyday people do what is necessary — in the vacuum left by our government’s failure — to help their communities. My friends are joining mutual aid networks and others are fundraising so the most vulnerable are financially stable.

But our obligation to one another does not stop at the border.

If we do not act now, Palestinians living under blockade in Gaza will suffer incredible losses from COVID-19. For 15 years, the Israeli government has blockaded 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza, restricting their access to crucial resources, including medical supplies. And Israel’s regular military assaults have decimated much of Gaza’s public infrastructure.

That is why I’m asking you to demand that the Israeli government live up to its legal and moral obligation as the occupying party and protect Palestinians in Gaza by lifting the blockade on Gaza and immediately delivering medical supplies — such as Coronavirus test kits, ventilation equipment, and medical masks — to Gaza.

Currently, 1.8 million Palestinians live in the 141 square miles that comprise the Gaza Strip (roughly the size of Detroit). Though Hamas governs Gaza internally, Israel is still the effective occupying power because Israel’s military controls the land, sea, and air of Gaza. The blockade on Gaza has been inhumane for over a decade, but to refuse to lift it during a global health pandemic is immoral, outrageous, and unforgettable.

And, with one of the highest population densities in the world and few medical resources, Gaza is one step away from a public health disaster. Those 1.8 million people only have access to enough COVID-19 test kits for 190 people, meaning only 1 in every 9473 Palestinians there can be tested. Additionally, there are just 20 available ventilation devices in all of Gaza — just 1 ventilation device for every 90,000 Palestinians there.

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Groundbreaking Call to Prevent US Aid for Palestinian Demolition

US FUNDS AND EQUIPMENT USED TO DISPLACE COMMUNITIES IN THE OCCUPIED WEST BANK

J Street, March 16, 2020

J Street welcomes a groundbreaking congressional letter that calls on the Trump administration to strongly oppose the Israeli government’s demolition and displacement of Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank, and to determine whether materiel purchased from or funded by the United States is being used to carry out these demolitions. The letter is particularly important in light of the White House’s signals of support for Israeli government efforts to illegally annex large portions of occupied Palestinian territory.

The letter to Secretary of State Pompeo is signed by 64 members of Congress and was led by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Steve Cohen (D-TN). Expressing concern over ongoing demolitions in the West Bank, it notes that the United States “should work to prevent unlawful home demolitions and the forcible transfer of civilians everywhere in the world and prevent the use of U.S.-origin equipment in this destructive practice,” and requests an examination of Israeli compliance with the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act.

We believe this letter sends an important message that the full amount of US security aid and equipment provided to and purchased by Israel should be used for legitimate self-defense against the very real security threats it faces — and not to carry out disastrous policies that undermine US and Israeli interests, trample on Palestinian human rights and potentially violate US law.