As Covid-19 sweeps across the planet, few scenarios are as frightening as an outbreak of the virus in Israeli-occupied Gaza. Four Israelis are refusing to let this happen, and are helping Gazans fend it off. They’ve launched a solidarity campaign to help Gazans out in this most grave crisis — and are calling for an end to Israel’s siege.
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Hungry for news on the state of the Covid-19 pandemic in Israeli-occupied/colonized Palestine, I reached out by Skype to Rania Muhareb, a researcher with Ramallah-based Al-Haq, one of Palestine’s most prominent and respected human rights organizations. Rania spoke with me from her home in East Jerusalem.
As the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps around the planet, attention has been focused on the fate of the most vulnerable communities: those consigned to crowded urban slums, refugee camps and conflict zones across the Global South. No one more vulnerable to the highly infectious virus than the people of Gaza, under comprehensive Israeli blockade and siege for thirteen years.
Late last January, after over a year of teasing talk and suggestive leaks, US President Donald Trump finally announced his so-called “Deal of the Century,” ostensibly aimed at resolving what is commonly referred to as the Israel-Palestine “conflict.”Predictably, Trump’s deal has been widely referred to in the mainstream media as a “peace plan.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Drug-resistant bacteria are one of humanity’s great emerging threats. Microbes resistant to most or all antibiotics – superbugs, they’re called – just laugh at whatever we throw at them. In the search for new antibiotics, a group of researchers at McMaster University have turned over an interesting stone — cannabis.
I met Vivien Sansour for the first time back in 2016, in her home town of Beit Jala, on the southern edge of Bethlehem, in Israeli-occupied Palestine. An anthropologist by training, Vivien has turned to the promotion of food and the cultural sovereignty tied to growing one’s own and saving the seeds, as her life’s work.
In a hyper-polarized world where everyone disagrees about everything and even the most straightforward affairs seem uncertain, an eminently erudite, well-traveled and literate critic is liable to draw a large crowd. Robert Fisk, dean of Middle East journalism, is one such man.
That awful A-word, preceded by the adjective ‘Israeli’. Israel boosters scream ‘antisemitism’ when they hear or read the phrase. Mainstream media avoid it like the plague. The international legal community has no difficulty likening Israel’s system of governance in the colonized West Bank to the South African prototype. Listen to my conversation with Professor Dugard.
Interviews that go sideways, or south. They tend to end suddenly, in response to the question that shouldn’t have been asked. Such was the case in this conversation with Ha’aretz columnist Amira Hass, in response to a question Amira didn’t let me finish, about the international community’s declared, though deceitful support for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Thankfully, our conversation continued. Very lively.
Issa Amro is a human rights defender in Hebron, in the southern Israeli-colonized West Bank. Amro currently faces a host of charges under Israeli military law — “a lot of stupid charges,” Issa tells me in this interview — all associated with his involvement in peaceful protests against the ‘separate-and-unequal’ system of laws governing Hebron’s Palestinian and Jewish settler residents.
Kufr Qaddum is a village of 5000, halfway between the northern West Bank cities of Nablus and Qalqilya. Its agricultural lands encompass about 19,000 dunams (acres), 11,000 of which fall within Oslo ‘Area C’ and are therefore under complete Israeli military control. I travelled to to Kufr Qaddum to observe one of their weekly protests, against the closure of their ancient road.
It’s a perfect storm: horrific bone and tissue-pulverizing wounds from high velocity sniper rounds, a health care system crushed by twelve years of military siege, and traumatic wound infections resistant to all but the most powerful and costly antibiotics. Such is the tempest sweeping tiny Gaza, fifteen months after the launch of protests along the militarized perimeter of what gets called, alternatively, an open-air prison or ghetto.
Farmers, dyers and fabric producers from a single watershed, woven together into a fibreshed. Is ethnic cleansing a charitable enterprise? The Canada Revenue Agency will soon pronounce on this matter. And, on the 25th anniversary of little Rwanda’s hundred-day genocide, there are whispers in the hall.
It’s the ultimate green dream: some device or substance that can capture the sun’s infinite flood of energy, store that energy, release it as heat and electricity — in controlled fashion — then absorb it all over again in a continuous closed loop. A little organic molecule called norbornadiene promises to make dreams come true, in the crucial realm of home heating and cooling.
Formerly abundant insects have vanished from a lush Puerto Rican rainforest. In tiny Gaza, under crushing Israeli military siege, antibiotic-resistant microbes infect high-velocity sniper wounds. And a big green dream: Endless clean energy from a tiny compound that soaks up solar rays.
What’s going on in Venezuela? I speak to someone who’s just returned, with an alternative view on the turmoil. Carbon taxes versus regulation. What works best? Both, it turns out. And – as if over a decade of crushing Israeli military siege weren’t enough, now the people of Gaza face multi-drug-resistant microbes.
It’s a perfect storm: horrific, bone and tissue-pulverizing wounds from high velocity sniper rounds, a health care system crippled by over a decade-long military siege, and multi-drug resistant infections.