Palestine (MNN) — Shireen Hilal of Bethlehem Bible College says this is one of the most difficult times in Palestinian history. “The Palestinians have been struggling with the occupation, with injustice, and peace talks with no peace. All these things happen because of occupation: unemployment, a lack of jobs, and a lack of good education. The educational system is really bad, the health system is really bad, and then comes COVID-19.”
Palestine is seeing more cases of COVID-19 right now than at any other time of the pandemic. This is especially bad news for businesses that rely heavily on tourism.
In a letter to Christian leaders from the United States, Palestinian Christian leaders say peace between Israel and Arab states means little if peace doesn’t apply to Israel’s own Palestinian neighbors. They point out that annexation of Palestinian land continues, whether officially sanctioned or not. The letter ends this way:
“Real peace is to support the ‘poor’ and to say ‘no’ to the injustice inflicted by the ‘powerful’ on the weak. In this way, churches should lobby their governments to put an end to this prolonged tragedy of the peoples of the Holy Land.”
Pray that the peace of Jesus Christ will come to Palestine. Palestinian Christians serve a Savior who rose from the dead, and they believe the suffering and oppression can end.
The situation in Gaza
COVID-19 has complicated travel restrictions in Palestine, but Palestinians already had a much harder time traveling than Israelis. Hilal says, “None of the people from Gaza can come to the West Bank and none of the people from the West Bank can go to Gaza. We have a nation, but it’s a separated nation.”
Hilal says the COVID-19 situation is much worse in Gaza than in the West Bank. The Palestinian leadership in Gaza is not a united front, and the health system can’t handle COVID-19. “If they don’t get the proper medical treatments, Gaza is going to be doomed. Not only because of the lack of infrastructure but because of all the poverty. There is no electricity, no water, no medicine.”
Pray that COVID-19 will diminish in Palestine, that people will have access to medical care, and that tourism can resume again soon.
The header image shows the Arab League headquarters in Cairo. (Ijanderson977 / Public domain)