Israel is making a massive effort to help the Palestinians contain a coronavirus outbreak after several Palestinians in Bethlehem tested positive for the disease. In return, the Palestinians are continuing to spread blood libels against Israel and the Jews. Pictured: An Israeli ambulance, carrying a person with coronavirus symptoms, arrives at the infectious disease unit of Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, on February 28. (Photo by Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images)
Israel is making a massive effort to help the Palestinians contain a coronavirus outbreak after several Palestinians in Bethlehem tested positive for the disease. In return, the Palestinians are continuing to spread blood libels against Israel and the Jews.
On March 5, the Israeli Defense Ministry announced that it has been working in the past two weeks to assist the Palestinian Authority in “curbing and preventing a coronavirus outbreak” in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israeli authorities have transferred 250 coronavirus test kits from Israel to the Palestinians. Furthermore, joint training sessions for Israeli and Palestinian medical personnel were organized for the professional study of the virus, the protection of medical personnel, and the testing of patients suspected of being virus carriers.
“We will continue working to help the Palestinian authorities curb the spread of the virus, both as an Israeli interest and for humanitarian reasons,” said Israeli Civil Administration Health Coordinator Dalia Basa. “We will expand medical training to Palestinian personnel as much as possible, as well as the transfer of medical equipment to the Palestinian healthcare system.”
Earlier, the Israeli authorities announced that they had facilitated 105,495 humanitarian crossings for Palestinians to receive medical treatment in Israel during the last week of February.
Yet, rather than showing gratitude toward the Israeli authorities for their assistance, the Palestinian Authority and its media outlets and officials are continuing their campaign of incitement against Israel. They are also continuing to incite Palestinians against Israel by spreading lies about Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers. The incitement and lies promote anti-Semitism and even endanger the lives of Jews around the world.
As Israeli medical professionals were offering help to their Palestinian colleagues, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry issued a statement strongly condemning Israel for demolishing the houses of two Palestinian terrorists involved in the murder of Israeli teenager Rina Shnerb in the West Bank in August 2019. The Palestinians, in other words, are worried about the human rights of the terrorists and their families, and not those of the 17-year-old Jewish girl who was murdered during a family picnic for only one reason: being a Jew.
The ministry also denounced Israel’s “ongoing assault” on Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem — a reference to a decision by Israeli authorities to ban a number of Palestinian activists involved in anti-Israel incitement from entering the holy site for one week.
The Israeli move comes in the context of efforts to stop Palestinian incitement against Jews who visit the Temple Mount. Palestinian officials and activists have been waging a campaign against the visits by claiming, falsely, an old blood libel begun by the former Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Husseini, an ally of Adolf Hitler: that the Jews are “violently storming” Al-Aqsa Mosque under protection from the Israeli Police. This incitement has led to several stabbing and shooting attacks against Israelis in the past few years.
On March 7, as Israel was helping dozens of foreign tourist groups leave Bethlehem after the discovery of 19 coronavirus cases in the city, the Palestinians revived yet another one of their old blood libels against Israel and Jews: the one claiming Israel uses wild boars to drive Palestinians out of their agricultural fields.
The blood libel appeared in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds under the title: “Herds of Wild Boars: The Settlers’ New Tool For Seizing Agricultural Lands.”
The report claimed that Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers have been releasing wild boars in parts of the West Bank to destroy Palestinian crops and intimidate Palestinian villagers and farmers.
One of the farmers, Fadel Tamimi, is quoted as saying, “Several residents saw trucks with Israeli license plates transferring wild boars to lands near the village of Der Nizam. Then the animals destroy our crops and cause physical harm to villagers.”
Another farmer, Munal Zeidan, said that the use of wild boars was part of a “scheme” by Jewish settlers.
Murad Ishtawi, head of the Palestinian Commission for Resisting the Wall (Israel’s security fence) and Settlements in the Northern West Bank, said, “Jewish settlers are waging a war of wild boars against [Palestinian] residents. They brought the wild boars here and released them in our fields to drive farmers away. This is a form of war.”
Needless to say, none of the Palestinians interviewed for the report managed to provide evidence that Israeli soldiers or settlers were behind the spread of wild boars in the West Bank. It is hard to find one Palestinian who does not carry a smartphone that he or she could use to document the alleged practices of the soldiers and settlers. It is worth noting that Palestinian villagers regularly document the actions of Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank as part of a campaign to incite hatred against Israel.
Additionally, dozens of Palestinian and foreign photographers roam the streets of the West Bank every day to record various events there. If, as the Palestinians claim, the Jews have been using wild boars for the past two decades, why has no one snapped even one photo of an Israeli truck carrying the animals into Palestinian villages?
What about the hundreds of thousands of Jews living in the West Bank? How come they too have not been attacked by wild boars? And how are these wild boars able to distinguish between Arabs and Jews?
Another old Palestinian-made blood libel concerns rats in Jerusalem. In 2008, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, Wafa, claimed that Jewish settlers have been using rats to drive Arabs out of their homes in the Old City of Jerusalem. According to the report, “dozens of settlers have been converging on the alleyways and streets of the Old City carrying iron cages full of rats. They release the rats in the Old City.”
The Palestinian Government Press Office even held a press conference in Ramallah that year to further spread the fake story about the rats. At the press conference, Palestinian officials claimed the release of the rats in the Old City of Jerusalem was aimed at “increasing the suffering of the residents, turning their lives into a real tragedy and forcing them to leave their homes and city.”
The Palestinian officials forgot to mention that there are hundreds of Jewish families living in different parts of the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Jewish Quarter, the Muslim Quarter and the Christian Quarter. Again, one wonders how these rats miraculously managed to target only Arabs.
By continuing to spread false reports and blood libels against Israel and Jews, particularly while Israel is working around the clock to save Palestinian lives from the coronavirus, the Palestinians are once again demonstrating how they repay those who assist them. Notably, it is this type of incitement that drives Palestinians to launch terror attacks against Israelis almost on a daily basis.
Israel is training Palestinian medical professionals to combat the spread of a dangerous disease at the very moment that Palestinian leaders are continuing to poison the hearts and minds of their people against the very people working to help them. While this sort of perverse Palestinian payback is nothing new, it nonetheless ought to interest anyone in the international community who is considering contributing to the Palestinian cause.
Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.
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