Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor has condemned Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank, including frequent raids on Palestinian villages and towns and attacks on its residents with no regard to the precautionary measures against COVID-19.
“We followed with great concern reports of suspicious behaviours of Israeli soldiers and settlers, during the storming of Palestinian houses,” the rights group said in a statement on Monday.
The Geneva-based rights group documented incidents of Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers spitting on parked vehicles, ATMs, and shop locks, raising the spectre of deliberate attempts to spread the virus and cause panic inside the Palestinian society.
“The suspicious practices of Israeli forces while storming Palestinian cities would reinforce assumptions of hostility of the Israeli army and settlers against the Palestinian population,” a senior official at the rights organisation said.
“Israeli raids has a dangerous role in raising the possibility of spreading the pandemic among Palestinians,” he added. “Every raid poses a potential danger to spreading the virus in the Palestinian areas.”
Since the Palestinian government announced a state of emergency on March 6, the human rights monitor documented 207 raids on Palestinian towns and villages across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
During these raids, the group continued, nearly 191 Palestinians were detained and dozens others were attacked by Israeli occupation forces.
Israeli occupation forces demolished many Palestinian homes and structures, the group added, noting that Israeli occupation soldiers had not taken any preventative measures against the novel virus during most of these demolitions.
The human rights organisation also reported 19 infiltrations into Palestinian neighbourhoods by Israeli settlers, including attacks on Palestinian residents and their properties.
The number of Palestinian COVID-19 cases has jumped to 117, 10 of them in the Gaza Strip, as of Monday night, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.