UN: COVID-19 efforts hampered in Israeli-Palestinian split | News

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The sharp deterioration in coordination between Israeli and Palestinian officials as Israel threatens to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank has hampered efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the United Nations has said.

Tuesday’s warning came hours after Israeli forces demolished a structure used as a quarantine center for those suspected of having the virus in the West Bank city of Hebron, sparking outrage among Palestinians.

East Jerusalem, and Israel, ”said Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special envoy for peace in the Middle East, to the UN Security Council.

“I am also concerned that we are well below the level of coordination that existed at the start of the year when the first wave of the virus hit. This could have serious repercussions on the ability to control its spread and its impact on populations. lives, ”he added.

UN officials have repeatedly warned Israel to abandon “illegal” plans to annex large swathes of the West Bank, including parts of the strategic Jordan Valley, in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s “Middle East plan”. The Palestinian leadership rejected the controversial proposal and said they were no longer bound by agreements with Israel and the United States.

Amid “unprecedented circumstances”, Mladenov, the UN envoy, said the agency offered to strengthen its role as an intermediary between the parties to help with the coronavirus response and help with orientation patients of the besieged Gaza Strip.

Palestinian health officials on Tuesday confirmed two deaths and 400 reported cases of coronavirus in the West Bank in the past 24 hours, including 119 infections in Hebron. The number of cases in the West Bank and Gaza Strip now stands at 10,923 people, including 67 deaths.

In Israel, the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections is 54,663, with a death toll of 430.

Meanwhile, in Hebron, local residents said Israeli authorities claimed the lack of a building permit to raze the one-story quarantine facility.

“The center has been in preparation for the past three months,” Raed Meswada, the owner, told Anadolu News Agency. “The Israeli occupation appears to be seeking to spread the virus in the city. ”

Meswada said the demolition was “proof that the Israeli occupation does not care about the virus outbreak, which does not differentiate between Palestinians and Israelis.”

On Tuesday, Israeli bulldozers destroyed a house in the town of Salfit, claiming it did not have a permit.

And on Wednesday, Israeli forces attacked two cultural institutions in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local residents.

Police and intelligence agents stormed the Yabous Cultural Center and the city’s National Conservatory and confiscated several files and documents, residents said. The reason for the raids is not clear.

Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967. Israel tries to justify the demolition of Palestinian houses by saying that they do not have building permits, despite the fact that Israel systematically denies such permits to the Palestinians.

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