Did COVID-19 spark the latest violence in Gaza? – Analysis


Hamas’s desperate desire to receive COVID-19 assistance is part of the reason for the escalation in security over the weekend, senior analysts have suggested. The Jerusalem Post.More than 40 rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip over the weekend – the biggest escalation since the coronavirus crisis began in March of last year. in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip took credit for the rocket attacks – Israel said it believed Hamas was behind the escalation. After all, these groups cannot operate without his approval. Analysts suggested, on the one hand, that the rockets were launched in solidarity with Palestinians embroiled in clashes with Israelis in Jerusalem and the West Bank. On the flip side, they say, the rockets are part of the campaign to pressure Israel to allow Palestinian elections to take place in Jerusalem – and to show Hamas’ strength ahead of an election they hope to participate in. Dr Barak Bouks of Ilan University, a senior researcher at the Europa Institute, Gazans may also have felt compelled to act due to the “gravity of the coronavirus situation” in the Gaza Strip. can get immediate attention and intervention, ”Bouks said – and maybe even more doses of the vaccine.

The COVID-19 situation in Gaza is worse than it has been since the start of the pandemic. There are more than 18,000 active cases in the coastal enclave, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). More than 820 people have died and deaths have increased by 15% in recent days. “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose a formidable threat throughout the occupied Palestinian territory,” Tor Wennesland, United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the Security Council last Thursday. UN. “I am seriously concerned about the significant increase in active cases in Gaza, where the daily infection rate is at its highest level since the start of the pandemic. economic crisis in the West Bank and Gaza, supporting the response of the Palestinian government must remain a priority, ”he said, noting that the Palestinian Ministry of Health has received more than 300,000 doses of the vaccine to date. so far to vaccinate the Palestinian population … the process needs to be speeded up and more vaccines are needed. “This means the situation is very bad,” Bouks said, noting that one has to imagine that Hamas officials see the situation in Israel – where the country is vaccinated and opens up – and they are locked up and feeling a sense of unfairness. Whether or not Israel has a legal obligation to vaccinate Palestinians, Hamas says “they have the right to [to be vaccinated by Israel] Last month, a former senior health ministry official told the Post that Israel plans to prioritize immunization of the entire Palestinian population over the age of 16 once it inoculated its own citizens and received excess doses. But Israel has fully vaccinated more than five million citizens – over 80% of its eligible population – and in addition to inoculating around 120,000 Palestinians who work inside the Jewish state and a few thousand healthcare workers, Israel kept any excess vaccine to itself. THE JUSTIFICATION from health officials was that by vaccinating Palestinians, Israel would protect its own citizens, as this would help prevent cross-border infections, including new mutations. The former official said Israel initially planned to use its supply of Moderna messenger RNA vaccine to achieve this goal, but as more doses of Moderna vaccine arrived in the country – and Israel has signed contracts for an additional 16 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that could be used for booster shots and / or for children until the end of 2022 – there has been no indication of plans to deliver one of those doses to the Palestinians. On the contrary, Coronavirus Commissioner Professor Nachman Ash told Military Radio last week that Israel was not doing it. even want the 10 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines purchased in November and are working with the company to get them sent elsewhere. He said Israel has now ordered the right amount to secure the country until the end of next year and does not want to stockpile vaccines that may eventually expire. The Palestinian population in Gaza and the West Bank is around 4, 8 million people, of which around 36% are under the age of 14, according to the CIA’s World Fact Book. Minors under the age of 16 are currently not eligible for vaccination. OCHA shows that less than 170,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have been vaccinated. As violence erupted in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, Wennesland demanded that it cease. Wennesland said in a statement. But Bouks said there must be some frustration among the Palestinians. “I don’t know if they are angry or not, but I don’t know how it can seem normal that on one side everything is green. and flowery and on the other, nothing, “said former Israeli politician Amram Mitzna, who once served on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and is a former central command of the CO.” Nothing for the Palestinians; it’s absurd, ”he said. “Lack of faith and depression are the best agents for bringing people to the streets.” FORMER CHIEF of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Service) Ami Ayalon said Israel made many mistakes throughout the coronavirus crisis, the main one being its failure to take into account the Palestinians when buying vaccines. [the vaccines] countries for political or diplomatic reasons and did not consider giving them to the Palestinians, ”Ayalon said. “This is a big mistake and it will have an impact on the future.” If he said he didn’t believe the escalation in Jerusalem was directly linked to COVID-19 in any way, “the fact that we didn’t play any role in helping them.” to deal with the coronavirus – yes, of course, that’s part “of the escalation. “If the rocket launch comes before the vaccination, I don’t know what to say,” he said. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser told the Post that if the PA and Hamas can blame Israel for not vaccinating them or for the coronavirus outbreak, “there is no justification for it.” But he admitted that “they blame us nonetheless.” Israel missed an opportunity to make a move towards the Palestinians – and now, with the violence escalating, the country is unlikely to reclaim that opportunity, Ayalon said. stress. “If your enemy believes he has nothing to lose, there is no limit to his violence.” I think it could have created leverage if the Palestinians believed that we were helping them cope with the virus, and that they could lose that aid once. they take to the streets, ”he continued. “Maybe if we had helped them they would have been a lot more pragmatic.”

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