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PA Calls Israel ‘Agents of This Epidemic’

[additional-authors]
April 14, 2020
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 11: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrives at the United Nations (UN) Security Council in New York on February 11, 2020 in New York City. Abbas used the world body to denounce the US peace plan between Israel and Palestine. Donald Trump’s proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace, which was released on January 28, has been met with universal Palestinian opposition. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority (PA) accused Israel of as being “agents of this [COVID-19] epidemic” in April 13 remarks to reporters.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the spokesperson, Ibrahim Milhem, said that this was because the PA “are not able to carry out our duties toward our people in Jerusalem because of the complications of the occupation.” He also dismissed reports about cooperation between Israel and the PA regarding the coronavirus.

“They are raiding Palestinian cities and villages. Do they call this assistance?” Milhem said. “They open tunnels to allow workers [to return from Israel to the West Bank]. Is this the assistance they are talking about? They are throwing infected workers at the side of the road. Is this assistance? They come and arrest and spit in the streets. Is this assistance?”

He added: “The occupation is based on oppression and arrogance and undermining our national and health immunity.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned Milhem’s comments in a tweet.

“Corrupt pay-to-slay PA, like Hamas in Gaza, offer Palestinians not hope, but lies, not policies to deal with new virus but heavy dose of oldest virus — Jew hatred,” the center wrote. “Beneath contempt, [Palestinian] leaders have zero interest in or capacity for peace and reconciliation.”

Jewish philanthropist Adam Milstein tweeted that Milhem’s remarks were “dangerous incitement against Israel,” adding that this is occurring as “Israel continues to coordinate closely to contain the spread of COVID-19.”

https://twitter.com/AdamMilstein/status/1249817118167699458

 

According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), Milhem made similar comments on March 29, alleging that Israeli soldiers had been spitting on Palestinians and contaminating ATM machines to purposely infect them with the coronavirus.

“The [Israeli] settlers are natural and exclusive agents for the coronavirus epidemic,” Milhem said. “They spread it through their touch and their racist and barbaric behavior that they are exhibiting toward the [Palestinian] citizens.”

Also on March 29, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh reportedly alleged that Israeli soldiers “are trying to spread the virus on car handles. This is racism and hatred of people who long for the death of the other. We will record this in the list of [Israel’s] crimes.”

Milhem did acknowledge in his April 13 comments that “Israel is not exporting the virus to the Palestinians.”

On March 17, the PA acknowledged that it established a joint operations room with the Israelis to combat coronavirus. Additionally, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) delivered 3,000 test kits and 50,000 masks from the World Health Organization (WHO) to the PA on March 25.

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