PA Newspaper and PM Compare Israel to Coronavirus, Ignoring Israel-PA Cooperation

By TPS • 19 March 2020
Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS

A Palestinian Authority (PA) newspaper has compared Israel to Coronavirus, writing that “just as we will overcome the Coronavirus, we will certainly overcome the occupation’s viruses that are more dangerous than all of nature’s viruses,” the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) NGO reported Wednesday.

Several days after the PA’s official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida newspaper published the editorial piece, it printed a comic showing an Israeli tank shaped like the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19).

The Corona-comparisons in the PA newspapers followed similar statements by PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh who wrote on his Facebook page that the PA was at a “critical and difficult stage that is not connected only to disease and the Coronavirus or the occupation virus.”

Meanwhile, Israel and the PA are cooperating on stopping the virus’ spread in the PA. The Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has supplied the PA with medical equipment, including disinfectant and Corona tests, provided Arabic-language information on how to prevent the spread of the virus, and organized joint training events for Israeli and Arab medical teams.

President Reuven Rivlin spoke on Wednesday with Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the Coronavirus crisis.

Rivlin told Abbas that “the world is dealing with a crisis that does not distinguish between people or where they live,” adding that “the cooperation between us is vital to ensure the health of both Israelis and Palestinians.”

“Our ability to work together in times of crisis is also testament to our ability to work together in the future for the good of us all,” he asserted.

Rivlin stressed in his call with Abbas that he is constantly updated on the Coronavirus issue and “is ready to help with any coordination required,” his office stated.

Abbas “welcomed this Israeli initiative calling for coordination of efforts to confront the spread of this dangerous pandemic in the region and the world,” his office stated.

PA government spokesman Ibrahim Malham said on Monday night that the PA and Israel have established a joint situation room to address the Corona epidemic.

Israel has shut down its crossings into Gaza and the PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria to stem the spread of the virus. The PA has recorded 44 cases of Coronavirus, 40 of them in Bethlehem.