Hebron, MINA – Israeli security forces are reported have destroyed a Palestinian Covid-19 virus research and testing center project in the city of Hebron, in the south of the occupied West Bank.
A 35-year-old engineer, Maswadeh, said three months ago the city government asked Palestinians to raise funds and build a drive-through service clinic for the Covid-19 test.
“My family decided to donate our land (which is located) at the northern entrance to Hebron with the aim of building a Covid-19 test clinic,” Maswadeh told Middle East Eye on Tuesday.
According to Maswadeh, the clinic was built to commemorate the grandfather who recently died of the corona virus. He said the project cost the family around USD $ 250 thousand.
The land is located in Area C of the West Bank which is fully controlled by Israel. There Israel almost never gives any permission to build buildings to Palestinians.
Maswadeh said they had begun to build a testing center without Israeli permission.
“If we apply for a permit, we will not get it (the permit). We think maybe during Covid-19, (we) will get some exceptions, “he said.
The idea of this project is to reduce the burden on hospitals in Hebron whose capacity is already full due to treating Covid-19 patients.
Maswadeh said that the construction of the post had been going on for two months while Israeli soldiers patrolled the area.
Israeli soldiers were aware of bulldozers and building equipment around the project site, but said nothing. However, on July 12, they received an order from an Israeli army commander to stop construction.
A human rights lawyer and activist from Hebron, Farid Al-Atrash (44), said the city was struggling due to the Covid-19 crisis and urgently needed the clinic.
“In this way we can control the people in and out of Hebron and better control (spread) the virus,” he said.
According to Atrash, this destruction could be a way for Israel to pressure the Palestinian government to continue bureaucratic coordination.
Palestinians stop coordinating with Israel in protest at Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank.
“In general Israel makes it difficult for Palestinians to fight viruses. Since the Palestinian government has stopped coordinating with Israel, Israel has used all means to pressure Palestinians to re-coordinate, ”
“They will make every effort to make our lives here difficult,” he added.
The West Bank region is struggling to fight a second wave of coronavirus infection, after successfully preventing the spread of a pandemic by imposing a tight lockdown for a week in March.
Hebron, which is the largest city and the center of economic power of the Palestinian government, was reportedly devastated by the pandemic.
The number of deaths in the Palestinian territories due to Covid-19 reached 65 people.
The city of Hebron has established a coronavirus crisis center. However, the social stigma and difficulties caused by the Israeli occupation hampered the handling of the virus. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)