Palestine and COVID-19–Two powerful new articles from “The Lancet” medical journal:
– March 26 from The Lancet, Structural violence in the era of a new pandemic: The case of Gaza
This is an excellent and extensive study on the health of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank by the world respected medical journal “The Lancet.”
“This is the first of five reports about the health status and health services in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory—the West Bank (including Palestinian Arab East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. We emphasize the complexity of factors that contribute to Palestinian health and health-system problems: ongoing colonization—ie,
- continued Israeli land confiscation;
- building of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land;
- fragmentation of communities and land;
- acute and constant insecurities;
- routine violations of human rights by Israeli military forces;
- poor governance and mismanagement in the Palestinian National Authority;
- and dependence on international aid for resources.
These and other factors have distorted and fragmented the Palestinian health system and adversely affected population health.”
March 26 from The Lancet, Tracking COVID-19 Responsibly
Johns Hopkins University suddenly has removed the Occupied Palestinian Territories from their disease tracking system apparently merging it wth Israel in cooperation with the US Department of State–making it very difficult to track COVID-19.
“The removal of the oPt from their tracking system (CSSE dashboard) goes against global scientific cooperation and solidarity, resulting in discrepancies with official data recorded by the Palestinian and Israeli Health Ministries. Consistency with international law and the need for impartial data on the spread of COVID-19 requires databases to list the oPt separately, as reflected in WHO practice. Instead, removing the oPt and merging it with Israel undermines the credibility of the CSSE dashboard. All the more concerning is the dashboard’s use of US State Department country designations,5 which have legitimised the acquisition of territory by force6 and undermined Palestinian identity and rights in Jerusalem.7
It is regrettable that Johns Hopkins University, an institution with historic ties to the slave trade,8 should continue its colonial violence against the indigenous Palestinian people by removing Palestine from the world map. In the same way that Johns Hopkins University has started acknowledging the indigenous Piscataway people, the traditional owners of the lands upon which the university is built,9 Johns Hopkins University must also recognize symbolic violence10 and ensure that it does not contribute to the erasure of indigenous peoples across the globe.”