Israel Demolishes Covid-19 Clinic in Epicenter of West Bank Outbreak

“There is no humanity in destroying grassroots attempts to support an already deprived health system suffocated by occupation.”

By Julia Conley
Common Dreams

Palestinians living near the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the occupied West Bank are without a badly-needed testing and quarantine center following the Israeli government’s demolition of a building that was meant to give relief to overwhelmed hospitals.

The Israeli Civil Administration demolished the building, being constructed on land belonging to Palestinian Hebron resident Hazem Maswada, on Tuesday, claiming the structure was being erected illegally without a permit. The building was set to open to the public next week. 

The demolition came as Hebron recorded the most coronavirus cases in the West Bank. The Palestinian Health Ministry said Wednesday that there were 154 new cases in Hebron district the day the building was destroyed, including 60 in the city itself. 

Hospitals in Hebron are filled to capacity, the Middle East Eye reported Tuesday.

“The cruelty of the occupation knows no bounds,” tweeted Palestinian rights advocacy group If Not Now. 

According to Haaretz, the Palestinian Health Ministry was involved in the decision to build the coronavirus center, and Maswada donated his land to the city of Hebron temporarily to help the community during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Maswada family told the Middle East Eye that the project cost them about $250,000 and that they built the center in memory of their grandfather, who died of Covid-19.

Construction began three months ago, and the family did not apply for a permit from the Israeli government; Israel controls the area in which Hebron lies, known as Area C, where Palestinians are rarely granted building permits. 

“If we applied for a permit, we would not have gotten it,” Maswada told the Middle East Eye. “We thought maybe during Covid-19, there would be some exceptions.”

Maswada told the Civil Administration that the building was to be used for testing and quarantine measures after officials issued a demolition order on July 12, but to no avail.

The administration used an order reserved for new construction, which can be carried out within 96 hours, making appeals nearly impossible. 

Israel’s assault on Palestinians’ ability to fight the pandemic is “nothing new,” tweeted Daniel Lubin, an organizer with the British anti-occupation group Na’amod.

In March, the Civil Administration confiscated tents that were meant to form a field clinic and emergency housing in the West Bank during the pandemic. 

“There is no humanity in destroying grassroots attempts to support an already deprived health system suffocated by occupation,” tweeted Lubin.

In recent months, Israel has drawn international condemnation by preparing to annex 30 percent of the West Bank, leading Palestinian leaders to end all coordination with Israeli officials.

The deterioration in relations between Israel and Palestine in recent weeks has hampered the region’s ability to combat the pandemic, the United Nations said Wednesday. 

“Israel in general makes the process for Palestinians to fight this virus more difficult,” Farid al-Atrash, a human rights lawyer in Hebron, told the Middle East Eye. “Since the [Palestinian Authority] stopped coordination with Israel, the Israelis have been using all different means to put pressure on the PA to reinstate coordination. They will do everything to make our lives as hard as possible here.”

14 comments for “Israel Demolishes Covid-19 Clinic in Epicenter of West Bank Outbreak

  1. July 25, 2020 at 05:41

    Israel is worse than apartheid. It is evil and fascist! To demolish a Covid-19 clinic in the midst of the pandemic is worst form of the violation of human rights against the Palestinians, it is murder!

    • Hank
      July 26, 2020 at 13:28

      “Building permits”? Since when did Israel place such importance on “building permits”. Israel constantly violates “permits” to NOT take other peoples lands! It is really funny how a nation that breaks the laws of common decency has a right to complain about ‘building permits”. Israel and Israelis should be extremely ashamed of what has been done to Palestinians for years! Unfortunately, many Israelis and government officials take pride in making life miserable for innocent people! By disdain for Israel’s actions is only topped by my disdain for the traitors in the USA government that stand by, even support Israeli violence, while Israel craps all over American principals of self-determination! The world knows by now that America’s “leaders” are predominantly whores for a foreign APARTHEID entity.

  2. July 25, 2020 at 00:01

    And look at who the U.S. supports.

  3. Anonymous
    July 24, 2020 at 15:42

    Israel is a tyrannical nation. It has become clear exactly what they learned from WW2, and I am ashamed to have extended family living there.

  4. Adrian E Postel
    July 24, 2020 at 12:12

    Like always, Israel makes itself a pariah before the world.

  5. DH Fabian
    July 24, 2020 at 11:59

    You already know why this lacks logic and credibility, right?

    • john downing
      July 25, 2020 at 09:45

      please explain.

    • casfoto
      July 27, 2020 at 19:16

      Who’s logic? psychopatic Logic? Isreal has a big problem with their attitude towards people….all people.
      They need to realize that they are in the sights of many whom they have injured- their children and their grandchildren will remember.

  6. Sr. Gibbonk
    July 24, 2020 at 11:49

    Netanyahu always says that the Israeli army is the most moral military in the world and by extension implies that Israel is the most moral country in the world. Of course Netanyahu, like Trump, is a lying propagandist and crooked power hungry politician who is currently hoping to annex a large part of Area C in the West Bank. I assume many of you reading this are appalled at the hard core Trumpians and think, as do I, they represent a racist right wing minority. Let’s hope we are right. But their Israeli counterparts are in the majority and polls support that contention.

    The destruction of a building intended to serve as a COVID-19 testing center for the people of Hebron is yet another fine example of Israeli morality and compassion during the pandemia. Of course the Israeli government says building the structure was illegal and done by scofflaws for personal use. What isn’t said is that it is near impossible for Palestinians in the occupied territories to get a building permit . Hmm, call me naive but given the brutal racist oppression of Palestinians by the European Zionist settler colonialist project, which was first conceived in the waning years of the 19th century, I’m inclined to discount the Israeli account.

    For a critical analysis of modern Israel by an American Jew I would suggest reading Max Blumenthal’s Fear and Loathing in Greater Israel.

    • Anonymous
      July 24, 2020 at 15:46

      The difference between Netanyahu and Trump is that there is nothing extravagant about this moral narcissism relative to the average middle easterner (and not just Israelis either). It’s a twisted game that’s common to cultures in the middle east – pretending you’re in a far stronger position morally than you really are and trying to beat others over the head with it.

      I’m not defending Netanyahu here – that’s obviously impossible to do – but this may not be the point to single him out on.

  7. Taras77
    July 24, 2020 at 11:33

    “No h?umanity?”

    When, if ever, has the inhumane regime of Israel exhibited humanity?

  8. AnneR
    July 24, 2020 at 11:00

    The zionists are unparalleled in their inhumanity, absence of conscience, their total immorality as this demolition demonstrates, yet again. It is also an idiotic, plainly stupid move and one can only hope that they discover this the hard way: via a fast increasing number of Covid-19 cases among the illegal settlers in the West Bank.

    Perhaps the zionists believe that the virus affecting the Palestinians wouldn’t dream of infecting them, the superior people… If so they are truly beyond reach, truly saturated in their own chosen superior status.

    What they definitely are is grotesquely inhumane, socio-pathic – akin to those in the US ruling elites who ensure – deliberately – that Iranians, Venezuelans cannot get necessary medicines, medical equipment, food intending that (as in Iraq under Hussein) tens of thousands if not millions will die from starvation or this viral disease or both….

  9. Linda Furr
    July 24, 2020 at 10:13

    Palestinians have been denied permits to rebuild homes after they’ve been demolished by the State of Israel as punishment for, say, a child throwing a rock at an IDF member – or even being suspected of throwing a rock at a precious Israeli. We can’t be surprised that Israel would demolish a Covid testing center, newly built and on private Palestinian land in the heart of Hebron’s largest Covid outbreak. We can be horrified, …but not surprised.

    July 24, 2020 at 06:33

    Following his conquest of the Palestinian territories in the Six Day War, General Dayan said that it would now be necessary for Israel to make the Palestinians miserable enough to want to leave their homes.

    And indeed his words have informed the policies of Israel for the last half century.

    Organized inhumanity.

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