COVID-19: East Jerusalem & OPT
Access to information and health services:
Following publications regarding the lack of Corona testing in Arab communities, we appealed to the Director General of the Treasury to allocate appropriate resources for the detection of Corona in East Jerusalem and the Bedouin communities in the Negev (29-3-2020).
We sent multiple appeals to the Minister of Health and the Director General of the Ministry of Health demanding they publish information about Coronavirus patients from Arab villages and from East Jerusalem and their trajectories on their website in Hebrew and Arabic (29-03-2020).
Appealed with HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual and Physicians for Human Rights to the Minister of Health and head of Magen David Adom (MDA) to demand that ambulance workers be able to enter East Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the separation barrier in order to test residents for the virus and treat those known to be infected. After receiving our letter, MDA published a telephone number for Arabic speakers to call and directly receive services in Arabic. They distributed the number in the refugee camp and Kafr 'Aqab (23-03-2020).
Appealed to Health Ministry and Jerusalem Municipality to open virus testing centers beyond the separation barrier (02-04-2020).
Appealed to the Attorney General to examine the behavior of Jerusalem district police in Issawiya, particularly for over-policing local residents and their conduct towards minors (29-03-2020).
Unemployment and state services:
Appealed with Ma’an to the director of the Post Office regarding Postal Services in East Jerusalem for the filing of unemployment claims (06-04-2020).
Appealed with Sikkuy to the director of the Israel Postal Administration regarding accommodating postal banking services to the Arab public so they can receive their retirement pay during the crisis (06-04-2020).
Along with Clinic for Patients’ Rights at the College of Management, we appealed to the Health Funds demanding that their drug delivery services be extended to Arab communities on the grounds of discrimination (07-04-2020).
Access to education:
Along with the Clinic for Human Rights in Society at the University of Haifa, we appealed to the Minister of Education and demanded that they make the online curriculum accessible to all students in Israel; as many of the students in the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev are not connected to the electricity grid; both Arab and Jewish students in East Jerusalem live in a difficult financial situation; and for the children of asylum seekers. We demanded all online lessons be translated into Arabic. On 4.5.20, we petitioned to the High Court of Justice on the matter.
Appealed to Postal Bank to distribute debit cards to communities beyond the separation barrier so that they too can with draw cash allowances (20-04-2020).
Occupied Palestinian Territories
Appealed to the Ministry of Justice and IDF Central Command demanding a freeze of home demolitions during the COVID-19 lockdown (17-03-2020). The Civil Administration agreed to cease all existing demolition orders of populated structures during this time.
Urgently appealed to the IDF and the Police to ensure that Palestinians in the West Bank are given full protection from harm to them and their property, in particular, against the taking of their land during the epidemic (01-04-2020).
West Bank Workers' Rights:
Along with Kav LaOved and Physicians for Human Rights, we contacted the Ministries of Labor, Security, and Health to demand government oversight for approximately 50,000 West Bank Palestinian workers stuck in Israel for the 30-60 day period during which the West Bank was closed. Partners demanded bearable adequate accommodation and health care for the duration of the closure (23-3-2020). On 28.4.20, after the situation remained unchanged, the organizations petitioned to the HCJ demanding health insurance and livable accommodation for workers, many of whom were sleeping in construction sites. In response to the petition, we are pleased to report (as of 06/05/20) that they key issues we petitioned for have been accepted, and that the workers, many of whom are employed in dangerous industries, will have health insurance in Israel and will be treated by clinics or hospitals if needed, and that the employers’ obligations regarding living conditions that they are required to provide are specified now in the emergency regulations.
Additionally, the government responded that the taking of personal documents from employees to restrict their movement was a mistake derived from old regulations, and will no longer be practiced.
Appealed urgently with Bimkom and Physicians for Human Rights to revise the home demolition and planning policy in light of the Corona crisis. The appeal refers specifically to small, disconnected communities in the West Bank that are not connected to infrastructure (05-04-2020).