Dreaded news – Covid 19 has broken out in Gaza – Urgent appeal for the government to speak ou


The Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa has renewed its call for the government to act urgently after the dreaded news this week that Covid 19 has broken out in the densely-packed community.

On 22 March this year we sent the Prime Minister an open letter asking the government to speak out against the Israeli blockade of Gaza under threat of Covid 19.

The letter and key signatories are here and include New Zealander of the year and President of Equity New Zealand Jennifer Te Atamira Ward-Lealand, Catholic Cardinal John Dew, Islamic Women’s Council Spokesperson Anjum Rahman and Anglican Bishop of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia Philip Richardson.

Despite heroic efforts to keep the virus out of Gaza, in the last few days there has been a serious outbreak of the pandemic in the blockaded enclave where the two million Palestinians are under threat – social distancing is impossible and washing hands regularly is a pipe dream with 97% of the water unfit to drink.

Last Thursday Gazan health officials said 26 people in several locations had tested positive for COVID-19 and two patients had died. From the same report…

Ignacio Casares Garcia, head of the Gaza Subdelegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said hospitals and health centers in the territory did not have sufficient medical equipment and medication for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

“The Gaza healthcare system would not be able to deal with more than a few dozen coronavirus patients,” he said in a statement, calling for more international assistance.

Israeli media today reported that Covid 19 cases in Gaza now number 145 – well past the “few dozen” the health authorities there are able to deal with.

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The Palestinian leadership in Gaza, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees, the International Red Cross and Palestinian and Israeli human rights organisations have all called in recent days for Israel to open Gaza’s borders to allow fuel and essential medical supplies to enter urgently. Israel is unmoved.

Gaza is desperately short of Covid 19 testing kits, for example, and containment of the pandemic is impossible without them. Similarly, hospitals have only a few days of fuel left for their generators, and Israel has blocked shipments, risking the lives not only of existing patients, but also the many more resulting from the Covid 19 outbreak. A humanitarian catastrophe is imminent.

We have urged the government to protect the most vulnerable Palestinians by:

  1. Joining with concerned national and international human rights organisations in calling on the Israeli Government to immediately lift the illegal Gaza blockade to allow urgently needed medical supplies and fuel into Gaza, and
  2. Making an immediate urgent humanitarian donation to assist in fighting the Covid 19 outbreak in Gaza.

It is not possible for New Zealand to look the other way, however much the racist Israeli government would like them to.



  1. Perhaps you could organise another flotilla to take them expired medications and broken wheelchairs….oh, and a group of murderous jihadists thrown in.

  2. Have you ever visited the area Mr Minto, ever actually been on the ground in Palistine?
    Or is it like chippie the minister of education who wanted all the charter schools closed down but admitted he never actually stepped foot in one!

    • So we can’t comment on anything unless we have been there, is that the idea. No one has to go into a charter school to know about them, one of the lead people in the states who backed them then came out after she realised what these schools often did to those currently at the education bottom heap.

      So do I hve to go and see someone living in a garage, in a car, in a sub standard rental to speak about them.

      Grow up.

      Most of us knew what was going on in SA without having to go there.

      • Michal you can talk about all of that, but if you were organising protests and blogging about them I would like to think you would at least take the bloody time to investigate for yourself rather than just listen and read from others.
        South Africa was decades ago…and I’m pretty sure Minto didn’t visit their either!
        Does one HAVE to visit what they spend all their spare time talking about, NO…but how can you speak with any sincerity/conviction when NEVER visited of what you speak about!

        • Nonsense Ben. I am concerned about the plight of the Kurds about those in West Papua and numerous other places in the world, actually I have never drunk Champagne.

          What is it you are concerned about then? Do tell.

        • I read widely you know, I haven’t been to any of the countries that the Kuds live in, I haven’t been to West Papua I didn’t go to East Timor. So many countries, so little time and money to do all of this.

          I have been to the Urewera! I did march against the Labour governments foreshore and seabed legislation, is that okay, I mean I do live here, I just wondered.

          Minto has been to to SA.

          What do you do. Do you never march, sign a petition, write to ministers?

          A bit sad if you don’t really. There are so many issues both here and in Aotearoa that one could be working on.

  3. Amazing how little empathy some people show, as if somehow the people in Gaza don’t deserve health care or even humane treatment. The comments by Gaby and I’m Right are shameful

  4. Medical equipment and food DO get into Gaza, it’s just that the ruling jihadis like to have the odd armaments and bomb making equipment also in the humanitarian supplies, so (quite rightly) Israel checks each shipment, as does Egypt with it’s, also legal, blockade!

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