The Palestine Liberation Organization has warned that Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem have become epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic, threatening nearby Palestinian cities, towns, and villages.
The PLO’s National Office for the Defence of Land and Resistance of Settlement added in its weekly report that the Palestinian Authority has called on Palestinian laborers who work in the settlements to stay at home because of the risk.
The virus has apparently surfaced in Palestinian residential areas where people who work in the settlements live.
According to PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, the settlements are both a loophole and a challenge to the Palestinians in the battle to curb the spread of the virus.
In its report, the PLO noted that the settlers have escalated their aggression against the Palestinians, taking advantage of the coronavirus lockdown to damage hundreds of trees across the occupied territory.
The Israeli security forces do nothing to stop them or enforce the lockdown.
The PA announced a state of emergency in the Palestinian territories last month to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
Nevertheless, the Israeli authorities have since demolished 40 buildings belonging to Palestinians or forced their owners to demolish them. A further 260 buildings have been damaged.
On March 31, the Geneva-based Euro-Med Monitor urged the international community to protect Palestinians and force Israeli soldiers to stop incursions of cities and towns that threaten preventive measures taken by the Palestinian Authority to control the outbreak of coronavirus.
It also called for investigating the suspicious behavior of a number of soldiers and Jewish settlers, which appeared to be an attempt to spread the infection and hold those responsible to account.
Fifteen new coronavirus cases were confirmed this morning in the West Bank, raising the total in Palestine to 252, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Source: The Palestine Chronicle