The head of Israel’s parliamentary committee dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic said on Tuesday that Israel is doing more to help the Palestinians confront the coronavirus crisis than their own leadership.
At a meeting of the Knesset Special Committee on the Novel Coronavirus—held at the request of Joint Arab List M.K. Sondos Saleh—Committee chair M.K. Yifat Shasha-Biton addressed the fact that Palestinians in need of treatment in Israeli hospitals are unable to enter the country due to the pandemic.
“In the complicated reality we live in, we have a moral duty, as human beings, to save lives,” Shasha-Biton said, according to a Knesset press release. “Therefore, despite the fact that the [P.A. leadership] chose the path of ceasing to cooperate with [Israel’s] Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Israel is not turning its back on the residents of the [P.A.] and continues to provide them with medical treatment in life-saving cases.”
She also said that Israel “will continue to make every effort to assist in humanitarian cases, but the responsibility cannot be lifted from the P.A., which stopped the coordination and thus harmed its own residents.”
Head of COGAT’s civil coordination department, Maj. Inbal Maman, told the committee that thousands of requests from Palestinians needing medical treatment have been approved recently, despite the lack of coordination with the P.A. since it decided in May to end cooperation with Israel.
The meeting took place amid a surge in COVID-19 infection in the P.A, whose spokesperson said on Tuesday that 353 new cases had been confirmed during the course of the previous 24 hours.