Weekend long read

1) At the JCPA Dr Shimon Shapira explains ‘How Hizbullah Is Dealing with the Coronavirus’.

“The coronavirus in Lebanon has put Hizbullah in a complex and sensitive position. Immediately after the first infected individuals were identified, Hizbullah was accused of conveying the disease to the country from Iran. Air traffic from Tehran to Beirut had continued without letup as Lebanese students and their families fled the universities in Iran, particularly the madrasas of Qom where thousands of Lebanese students learn, and returned to Lebanon without being checked or put in quarantine, thereby spreading the disease from Iran to Lebanon.

These accusations sparked fear as well as intense anger at Hizbullah, which claimed that the virus had broken out in the Jesuit monasteries of Beirut and Bikfaya in Lebanon. Hizbullah thereby sought to place the blame at the heart of the Maronite Christian community.”

2) The ITIC reports on the steps taken by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.

“On March 31, 2020, the number of Palestinian COVID-19 cases rose to 117, 107 in Judea and Samaria and 10 in the Gaza Strip. The cases most recently detected in the PA were a Palestinian worker who returned from Israel and seven Palestinians in the village of Qatanna, northwest of Jerusalem. The village and the Bethlehem area are focal points for the spread of the disease: there are 39 COVID-19 cases in Qatanna and 46 in the Bethlehem area. So far 18 Palestinians have recovered and one has died.”

“The ministry of health in the Gaza Strip announced another case of COVID-19 among the people quarantined in the Gaza Strip. This brings the number of COVID-19 patients in the Gaza Strip to 10, all in stable condition. According to the ministry’s statement, the newly identified patient arrived from the Rafah crossing. He entered quarantine immediately upon arrival and did not come in contact with anyone. According to the spokesman for the health ministry in the Gaza Strip, there are 1,769 people in 25 quarantine centers, including 1,006 patients with background illnesses.”

3) Khaled Abu Toameh reports that ‘Despite Coronavirus, Jihad Against Israel Continues’ at the Gatestone Institute.

“While many international media outlets and human rights organizations, including the United Nations, are warning of a “catastrophe” in the Gaza Strip after the discovery of nine coronavirus cases there, Hamas and PIJ – the two dominant groups that have been ruling the Gaza Strip since 2007 – seem to care less about the safety and health of their people.

For these groups, the “struggle” against Israel is manifestly more important than the fight against the immediate threat of a pandemic.

On March 27, a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip toward the Israeli city of Sderot. The rocket, which fell in an open area, did not cause any casualties or property damage. This was the first rocket attack on Israel since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.”

4) Fathom Magazine carries an article by Oren Kessler about the Peel Commission.

“In this fascinating dive into the archives Oren Kessler reveals the dramatic exchanges that shaped Lord Peel’s 1936 proposal to partition Mandate Palestine. Kessler examines testimony given to the Royal Commission, to which Peel lent his name, from Chaim Weizmann, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Grand Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini, George Antonius, Winston Churchill and others. He assesses why the commission decided that only a ‘clean cut’ into two states for these two peoples, Jews and Arabs, had any chance of forestalling a descent into near-permanent conflict. The following is an excerpt from Kessler’s forthcoming book Fire Before Dawn: The First Palestinian Revolt and the Struggle for the Holy Land.”

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