Press release by Hamas chief on coronavirus

| Statements

On the outbreak of coronavirus, Head of Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh stated the following:

We, in Hamas, are serving a humanitarian role with our capabilities and abilities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus epidemic in the Gaza Strip.

We are saddened for every human losing a beloved one to this disease and pray to Allah to end this plague, which has befallen the Palestinian people, Arab world, and the entire world.

This is not the first time the patience of the Palestinian people is being tested, but it is the first time for the world to face such a dangerous epidemic, which has shaken up several counties and weaken the ability of some states to deal with it.

We are confident that the Palestinian people will give an example for their commitment and deep faith that they would overcome this crisis.

Hamas makes it clear that it is ready to dedicate all of its capabilities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to help authorities combat this disease.

We are fully ready to work, coordinate, and assume every role possible as part of a joint effort to fight this epidemic, which does not discriminate between any human regardless of his/her political opinions and tendencies. 

As part of a multi-phase plan to combat this global epidemic, we have declared a state of emergency in all Hamas-affiliated institutions everywhere in full cooperation with international health organisations, especially the World Health Organisation.

We believe in the necessity for an early and inclusive action as part of a clear vision to protect the Palestinian people and provide everything possible for the sake of their health and wellbeing. 

Realising the lack of capabilities due to the Israeli siege on Gaza, let alone the scattered presence of the Palestinians in diaspora and refugee camps abroad, Hamas has acted at different levels to help combat the outbreak of the coronavirus.

I have phoned several leaders and officials in the region, especially Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who both expressed their willingness to provide assistance needed to fight off this epidemic.

Hamas has proposed forming a committee at the Palestinian level in Lebanon to combat this virus.

After a meeting with the UNRWA director in Lebanon, a representative for the Lebanese health ministry, the secretary-general of Fatah and the Palestine Liberation organisation, and the secretary general of the Alliance of Palestinian Forces, along with the Palestinian ambassador to Lebanon, a central emergency committee has been formed out of theses segments to take all the steps needed to combat the coronavirus.

The Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip has invited Palestinian factions and the Ministry of Health to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 and several emergency committees have been formed and activated to prevent the virus from reaching the Gaza Strip.

All people returning to Gaza have been quarantined and all crossings have been closed, except for emergency cases, as new health care facilities are being built.

We call on international aid groups and the World Health Organisation alongside the supporters of the Palestinian people to help the Palestinian people in this fierce fight against the coronavirus epidemic.  

Hamas calls for a complete end to the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip and urgent assistance at various levels, including medical equipment, for the Palestinian people.

The Israeli-imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip has to be lifted forever as it poses a threat to two million people living the coastal enclave. Thus, we hold the Israeli occupation responsible for any situation aggravated by its siege.

The concerned Hamas committee is following up the situation of Palestinian detainees in Israeli occupation prisons either through international organisations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, or human rights groups.    

We hold the Israeli occupation fully responsible for the wellbeing of Palestinian detainees in its jails and warn against any medical negligence that might lead to the outbreak of this fatal disease among them; otherwise, we will consider it a deliberately-attempted murder.

Hamas reiterates its willingness to cooperate with the Palestinian Authority along with all Palestinian segments to fight this imminent danger together.

Saluting the Palestinians living in the 1948 occupied territories, Hamas warns against any discriminatory measures against them when dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

We appreciate the efforts exerted by official and factional emergency committees and an initiative by the Palestinian resistance to build quarantine rooms in an exceptional time.

Amid a shortage of medical equipment and medicines, we laud the strenuous efforts by the Ministry of Health and Palestinian medical staff to combat the coronavirus epidemic and find solutions for different crises.

Hamas hails the private sector, businessmen, charities in the Gaza Strip for taking the intuitive to help fight the coronavirus and setting an honorable example for community solidarity in a way that reflects the true image of the Palestinian people.