Here’s an article published in the April 23rd print edition of the British magazine Private Eye:
The first error is in the second sentence, where it’s claimed that Gaza only has 200 COVID-19 testing kits. On March 26th alone, a month before this article was published, 1,000 testing kits were delivered to Gaza.
— COGAT (@cogatonline) March 26, 2020
A week earlier, hundreds more testing kits had been transferred to Gaza.
Further in the article, it asks: “Will [Israel] stop blocking foreign medical aid”?
However, other than the few exceptions mentioned by the writer (dual-use items, like radio isotopes used for certain x-ray scanners), there are no restrictions on medical aid to Gaza – and none whatsoever for COVID-19 related medical supplies. In fact, since the start of the pandemic, the United Nations reported that, as of late April, it had “delivered more than 1 million essential supplies such as lab equipment, personal protective gear and thousands of COVID-19 tests” to Gaza.
In the final paragraph, it’s suggested that Israel doesn’t allow seriously ill Palestinians in Gaza to enter Israel of the West Bank for hospitalization. But, again, this isn’t true. Even during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of patients (and their companions) from Gaza were permitted to cross the border to get medical care in Israel or the PA – according to the most recent data from the anti-Israel NGO GISHA.
The final sentence of the piece, imploring Israel to “allow NGOs, medical equipment and food” into Gaza, represents an even more egregious lie, as there are no restrictions whatsoever on the import of food into the Hamas-run territory.
In addition to these outright errors, the article misses a broader point: that, since the outbreak of the pandemic in the region, there’s been unprecedented cooperation between Israel and the PA and, to some degree, even between Israel and Gaza. Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, praised the coordination between the Israeli and Palestine authorities in reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On its website, the UN wrote the following:
Since the beginning of the crisis, Israel has allowed the entry of critical supplies and equipment into Gaza: examples of critical supplies include swabs for collection of samples and other laboratory supplies required for COVID-19 testing, and Personal Protective Equipment to protect health workers. The statement also noted Israel’s cooperation in allowing health workers and other personnel involved in the COVID-19 response to move in and out of the West Bank and Gaza.
The central argument of the Private Eye piece, that Israel is putting Palestinian lives at risk by refusing to allow COVID-19 related medical supplies to Gaza, is completely untrue.
- Private Eye: blind in Palestine (CAMERA UK)
- Private Eye imagines pre-67 Palestinian sovereignty (CAMERA UK)
- BBC News’ Gaza healthcare messaging persists (CAMERA UK)
- AP corrects after calling Gaza ‘world’s largest Muslim nation’ (CAMERA)