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Dear friends,

None of us remains unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic spreading throughout the world. In these difficult times, I send you my warmest wishes from Jerusalem for good health and serenity for you and your family.  

While we are all affected, the most vulnerable among us are at the greatest risk, both from the virus itself and from governmental measures to contain it. HaMoked is committed to ensuring that Israeli government measures to counter the spread of the virus consider the needs of the Palestinian population and do not further violate their rights. Here is some of our activity from the past two weeks to protect the basic rights of Palestinians:

  • We demanded that the Minister of Interior automatically extend the permits of Palestinians living in Israel or East Jerusalem lawfully with their families, until the end of the crisis, so they do not have to endanger their health to stand in line at the Ministry to extend their permits. The following day, the Ministry announced the automatic extension of all such permits until June 30, 2020.
  • We joined with other organizations to demand the immediate reduction of the number of inmates incarcerated in Israeli prisons, due to the overcrowding in these facilities, which puts thousands at heightened risk of contracting the virus.
  • We submitted an urgent request to allow Palestinian detainees, and especially children, access to phone calls throughout the crisis, as visits from their families and lawyers have been halted and they are completely cut off from the outside world. We are preparing an urgent High Court petition on this issue.
  • We submitted a letter against the Israeli military’s decision to deny all Palestinian farmers over age 50 access to their farmlands behind the Separation Wall throughout the crisis.
  • We sent an urgent letter against the government's reported plan to prevent East Jerusalem Palestinians who live beyond the Separation Wall from accessing other parts of the city. We are prepared to petition the Court should such a plan be implemented. We also joined with other organizations to demand that the Israeli ambulance service enter the East Jerusalem neighbourhoods that are beyond the Wall in any cases of suspected Covid-19 infections. Generally, residents of these neighbourhoods are required to meet Israeli ambulances at the checkpoints along the Wall; continuing this practice in the present circumstances risks exposing people to the virus.
  • We demanded that the Israeli military halt all punitive home demolitions for the duration of the crisis, as such demolitions would displace entire families at a time when the public is urged to remain at home.

We have also increased our efforts to share information with the Palestinian public through our Arabic-language Facebook page, to ensure awareness of the new policies that may impact members of this community. Please share this page with any friends and acquaintances who might find it useful.

We are working under difficult circumstances, with only a small presence in the office and most of us working from home. But we are united in our commitment, together with the broader human rights community, to remain vigilant and proactive to ensure the greatest respect for rights in this crisis.  

Sending my very best wishes to you in these worrying and uncertain times,



Jessica Montell
Executive Director of HaMoked



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