April 1, 2020
News Press Release

ZOA to UN: Condemn PA Prime Minister Falsely Accusing IDF of Deliberately Spreading Coronavirus

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Chairman Mark Levenson, Esq. released the following statement:

On Sunday (March 29), Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh accused Israeli soldiers of an ugly blood libel: deliberately spreading coronavirus to Palestinians. Shtayyeh falsely claimed: “We were exposed to testimonies that some of the (Israeli) soldiers are trying to spread the virus on car handles.”  This is not an isolated incident: Palestinian Media Watch has collected numerous examples of the PA using the coronavirus to demonize Israel. PA ruling party Fatah published libels that Israel assists the coronavirus; is responsible for Palestinians’ infections; prevents young people from fighting the virus; has contempt for and is indifferent to Palestinians’ lives; and is perpetrating a “coronavirus holocaust” on Palestinians.

Yet in his COVID-19 statement yesterday (March 31), the United Nations’ “Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process” Nickolay Mladenov (who also serves as Personal Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the PLO, the PA the Quartet) said nothing about PA Prime Minister’s hideous blood libel.  

ZOA Urges the UN to condemn PA Prime Minister Shtayyeh’s false accusations against the IDF.   

Mladenov instead stated that both Israel and the Palestinians were coordinating in an exemplary fashion to combat the coronavirus, in both the “West Bank” (Judea-Samaria) and Gaza. 

Israel is indeed acting in an exemplary fashion. For instance, Gazan nurses are currently training in Israel. The UN March 31 report noted that that Mladenov “praised the far-reaching measures that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have taken to try and contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. He said that the coordination that has been put in place and the joint commitment to tackle the threat to both populations is exemplary and their efforts have been supported by the UN.”  

Moreover, on March 27, the UN reported that: “Special Coordinator Mladenov focused on UN efforts and the excellent coordination and cooperation that has been established with all Israeli and Palestinian interlocutors. Israeli and Palestinian authorities continue to coordinate their responses closely and constructively, a major factor in the containment achieved so far. Israel has also facilitated the entry of critical supplies and equipment into Gaza since the beginning of the crisis. Examples of critical supplies include swabs for collection of samples and other laboratory supplies required for COVID-19 testing and Personal Protective Equipment to protect health workers. This is in addition to Israel’s cooperation to allow for the movement and access of personnel involved in the COVID-19 response to and from both the West Bank and Gaza.”

But the PA Prime Minister’s ugly, outrageous, despicable and false accusations that Israelis are deliberately spreading the virus does not show an “exemplary joint commitment to tackle the threat.”

Disgracefully, in addition to failing to condemn the PA Prime Minister’s libel, Mladenov also used his March 31 statement to falsely attack Israel’s lawful sovereignty.  Mladenov condemned Israeli officials for stating that they intend “to annex Israeli settlements and other parts of the occupied West Bank.”  Mladenov falsely claimed this would be “detrimental to peace” and “a serious violation of international law.”  

As ZOA has repeatedly explained, Israel has the sovereign right to Judea, Samaria and all of Jerusalem under international law; and accordingly is not an “occupier” of these areas.   

The PA’s blood libels, incitement, paying Arabs to murder Jews, refusing to accept Israel as a Jewish State and Hamas and PIJ’s rocket attacks on Israel are the real “detriment to peace.”  

While Israel is assisting both the PA and Gaza, the PA continues to bite and defame the hand that is helping its people.