PA falsely blames Israel for Coronavirus spike and invent alternate reality
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the PA has inverted reality. The PA has repeatedly blamed Israel for the spread of the Coronavirus, never telling its people that Israel has given hundreds of tons of equipment as well as ongoing medical training to the PA to prevent the spread of the virus, as reported by Palestinian Media Watch.
As the PA is experiencing a second wave of the virus, the PA has initiated a second wave of libels coming from different PA leaders.
One example is the libel of Chairman of the PA-funded Prisoners’ Club Qadura Fares, who accused Israel of deliberately trying to spread the virus within the PA:
“[Israel] is striving to spread the Coronavirus via the invasion of soldiers who are likely to be sick into Palestinian homes and mixing with the civilians and prisoners.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 17, 2020]
Another example was delivered by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, who gave two different explanations for the rise in the number of infected with the virus. On the one hand, Shtayyeh resorted to the PA’s standard excuse – blame Israel. On the other, he attributed the blame to Palestinian weddings and mourners’ tents.
Israel is to blame, according to Shtayyeh, due to the movement of people and goods from Israel and Jordan across the 1949 armistice lines:
“The [PA] government will send a request to the UNTSO (UN Truce Supervision Organization) UN forces to supervise the movement at the crossings located on the June 4, 1967 borders (i.e., 1949 armistice lines) in order to control the entry and exit to and from the State of Palestine… The main reason for the severe trend of increase of the Coronavirus… is the fact that the Palestinian [PA] Security Forces are being prevented [by Israel] from fulfilling their role and supervising the movement at these crossings… The fact that we do not control the crossings and borders – in addition to the occupation’s measures – is the main reason for the increase in the number of those infected with the Coronavirus.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 7, 2020]
These statements are a product of the PA’s desire to promote hatred of Israel and inventing an alternative reality, in which the 1949 armistice lines are “borders” of the “State of Palestine,” that the PA must control.
Firstly, the 1949 armistice line between Israel and Jordan was never a “border”, as the website of the UNTSO clearly states:
“In November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a plan for the partition of Palestine, providing for the creation of an Arab State and a Jewish State, with Jerusalem to be placed under international status. The plan was not accepted by the Palestinian Arabs and Arab States. On 14 May 1948, the United Kingdom relinquished its mandate over Palestine and the State of Israel was proclaimed. On the following day, the Palestinian Arabs, assisted by Arab States, opened hostilities against Israel.
On 29 May 1948, the Security Council, in resolution 50 (1948), called for a cessation of hostilities in Palestine and decided that the truce should be supervised by the UN Mediator, with the assistance of a group of military observers. The first group of military observers, which has become known as the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), arrived in the region in June 1948. In 1949, UNTSO military observers remained to supervise the Armistice Agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbours, which were for many years the main basis of an uneasy truce in the area…”
[Website of the UNTSO]
The mandate of the UNTSO, which provides that “UNTSO Military Observers remain in the Middle East to monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating and assist other United Nations peacekeeping operations in the region,” similarly negate Shtayyeh’s statements, since they do not include supervision of “borders.”
Secondly, statistics provided by the Israeli Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) show that in June 2020 alone, there were over one million recorded crossings of Palestinians into Israel (as demarcated by the 1949 Armistice lines). Palestinians are crossing for work and medical treatment. If the PA believed that the spike in the number of Palestinians infected with the Coronavirus was the result of Palestinian contact with Israelis, surely the PA would have prohibited Palestinians from crossing the armistice line into Israel, which is something could have done at any time.
Thirdly, as opposed to the impression given by Shtayyeh that the PA Security Forces are being “prevented from fulfilling their role and supervising the movement at these crossings”, the PA has never supervised the 1949 Armistice lines.
When Shtayyeh abandoned his anti-Israel overtures, he explained the real source of the spread of the virus among Palestinians:
“82% of the [Palestinian] Coronavirus infections is contact between the civilians – and specifically at weddings and mourners’ tents, and that 18% are laborers.”
Moreover, the PA is itself preventing shipments of foreign aid from reaching the PA but is conveniently blaming Israel for their own actions. According to the PA, 100,000 Coronavirus test kits have already arrived in the Israeli Ben Gurion airport and another 50,000 are in Jordan but cannot reach their destination, because the PA cut off its coordination with Israel.
“[PA] Minister of Health Mai Al-Kaila said… during a meeting with the district governors of the northern West Bank and the directors of the [PA] Ministry of Health directorates… that there are 50,000 [Coronavirus] tests in Jordan and 100,000 more in the Lod [Ben Gurion] Airport that were purchased on the global market, but the [PA] ministry has not succeeded in bringing them in due to the [PA] e nding of coordination with Israel.
She said that tomorrow, Thursday [July 17, 2020], a meeting will be held with the UN at the [PA] Prime Minister’s Office in order to discuss ways of bringing in these tests.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 16, 2020]
In June, the PA refused another aid shipment sent by the United Arab Emirates, via Israel.
“[PA] Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said today, Tuesday [June 9, 2020], that the United Arab Emirates did not coordinate with his [PA] government regarding any possible aid that would arrive in the UAE plane that is expected to landthis evening at the Ben Gurion Airport in Lod… Shtayyeh added: ‘We do not know about this aid. We heard about it in the media, and the matter was not coordinated with us.’...
In the middle of last May an Etihad Airways plane, which arrived in a direct flight, landed publicly and unprecedentedly [at Ben Gurion Airport] from Abu Dhabi on the pretext that it was bearing a cargo of medical equipment meant for the PA in order to help it fight the Coronavirus…
The PA announced at the time that it did not know about the plane from the UAE, and it refused to receive the medical equipment and aid…
A source in the PA… emphasized that the PA refuses to serve as a bridge for normalization between Arab sides and Israel on the claim of aid.”
[Sama, independent Palestinian news agency, June 9, 2020]
One thing is clear: For the PA, the Coronavirus crisis is just another excuse to promote hatred of Israel, even to the detriment of the international fight against the virus. An international conference to discuss combatting the Coronavirus had been scheduled to be held in Israel and the PA bragged that it succeeded in having it cancelled:
“Thanks to the efforts of the [PA] Presidential Office and the [PA] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Palestinian diplomatic array succeeded in thwarting the convening of an international conference of the organization CICA (Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia) in the Israeli occupation state. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed in a statement yesterday, Wednesday [July 1, 2020], that the conference was supposed to be held this July 15  in Tel Aviv with the participation of 27 member states of CICA, and to deal with public health and the fight against the Coronavirus.
He noted that the CICA general secretariat in Kazakhstan decided yesterday to cancel the conference held in Israel due to efforts made by the Palestinian diplomatic array to cancel it.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 2, 2020]
For the PA, even the international fight against a once in a century pandemic that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, is just a political tool to further its goals of vilifying Israel.
The following are longer excerpt of some of the articles mentioned above:
Headline: “Shtayyeh demands that Israel close the crossings and that the UN supervise entry and exit through them”
“[PA] Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh announced that the [PA] government will send a request to the UNTSO (UN Truce Supervision Organization) UN forces to supervise the movement at the crossings located on the June 4, 1967 borders in order to control the entry and exit to and from the State of Palestine.
Shtayyeh emphasized that the main reason for the severe trend of increase of the Coronavirus… is the fact that the Palestinian [PA] Security Forces are being prevented from fulfilling their role and supervising the movement at these crossings.
He said: ‘The fact that we do not control the crossings and borders – in addition to the occupation’s measures – is the main reason for the increase in the number of those infected with the Coronavirus.’ He demanded that the occupation state close the crossings on the 1967 borders.
Shtayyeh said this in a speech he gave at the beginning of the [PA] government’s weekly meeting, which was held yesterday, Monday [July 6, 2020], in Ramallah…
He called on the tribes and families to adopt a binding pact of honor forbidding weddings and mourners’ tents from being held in all the homeland’s districts until the end of the Coronavirus crisis.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 7, 2020]
Headline: “Shtayyeh: The reason for 82% of the Coronavirus infections is weddings and mourners’ tents, and we demand that the occupation close all the crossings”
“Palestinian [PA] Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said today, Monday [July 6, 2020], that the main reason for the spread of the Coronavirus in the West Bank is the [PA’s] lack of control over the crossings and borders. During a press conference that he held on the sidelines of the [PA] government meeting in Ramallah, Shtayyeh said: ‘The lack of control over the crossings and borders is one of the main reasons for the spread of the Coronavirus.’ He added: ‘We demand that the occupation close all the crossings, and we will contact the UN forces so that they will supervise the matter.’
He noted that the reason for 82% of the [Palestinian] Coronavirus infections is contact between the civilians – and specifically at weddings and mourners’ tents, and that 18% are laborers. He called on everyone to do what is required of them and protect themselves and their families.”
[Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, July 6, 2020]