, was invited to be involved in track two diplomacy (involving both Palestinians and Israelis) around easing the economic and movement restrictions of the occupation. We were starting to move ahead with proposals and conversations with potential donors. Despite this move in the right direction, the Palestinian Authority then cut all ties with the Israelis so the donors have asked us to wait, in limbo, until things become clearer.
 

This solidarity is something that used to happen, for instance, during the intifada of 1987, but that seemed to have vanished almost completely.

 

Is there any hope left in the country?

Peacebuilding involves relationship building and human connectivity – the pandemic has brought to many a renewed awareness of our connections and our humanity, along with the need for a focus on human security.

There has been a lot of community solidarity ---youths going around cleaning neighborhoods and community centers, food packages being distributed, free meals offered, landlords cancelling  rents for businesses; university fees being reduced. This solidarity is something that used to happen, for instance, during the intifada of 1987, but that seemed to have vanished almost completely.

Solidarity among health professionals – it created a push towards the humanisation of Palestinians by Israelis (whereas the impact is generally towards dehumanisation, and dehumanisation is one of the key factors maintaining a conflict). The humanising element has given way to blame the “Arab community” for “nearly causing an onslaught of hundreds of patients” by the new Israeli “coronavirus czar”, who had to be reminded of the many Arab doctors and health workers on the front lines.

Sadly, as in many other places around the world, and before most, the second wave hit here, and for the past two months the covid situation has been far worse than the first time around. As the numbers of cases and deaths soar, the communal solidarity has not only all but disappeared, but has in many places transformed into individual anger and despair and an increase in intra Palestinian violence. The economy has plummeted and the Palestinian Authority is unable to provide any support or cushioning, even for the majority of their employees. As the Palestinians face hunger, the Israeli occupation is intensifying its tight and oppressive grip. This includes the destruction of an emergency field hospital in Hebron, which is the worst hit Palestinian city, and desperately in need of more beds.
 

Lucy Nusseibeh, has been striving for peace in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for decades. As the founder and director of , Lucy has initiated many peacebuilding projects with women and youth directly affected by the conflict. Lucy has been living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 1978, and founded MEND in 1998.

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