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Palestinian compares virus lockdown to Israel’s occupation

April 18, 2020 at 3:40 pm

Malaysian security forces inspect vehicles to enforce lockdown regulation as a part of coronavirus prevention efforts in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 22 March, 2020 [Syaiful Redzuan/Anadolu Agency]

A Palestinian immigrant living in Malaysia has said the latest stay-at-home order to curb the spread of coronavirus reminds him of life under Israeli occupation.

Muslim Imran, chairman of the Palestinian Cultural Organization of Malaysia (PCOM), said restrictions on movement and living under curfew were part of his and thousands of other Palestinians’ daily life back home.

“This is nothing new for us. Many of us live under Israeli occupation and curfews,” said Imran.

READ: Palestinian expats hail Malaysia’s call to defend Jerusalem

He said that for Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza uninterrupted electric supply is a far-fetched dream due to Israel’s sanctions on fuel.

The man, who moved to Malaysia in 2003 at the age of 17, recalled how Israeli forces restricted Palestinians from visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Despite residing at close proximity to the mosque, he added, citizens under the age of 50 had to obtain prior permission to pray.

“Every day in Palestine we experienced things worse than MCO [Movement Control Order],” said Imran.

He said that as a result of the restrictions, many Palestinians live below the poverty line and more than 50% are unemployed.

However, Imran said that he understands that life under lockdown is also not easy for Malaysians as public transportation and people’s movement are restricted.

“We, Palestinians, pray that this pandemic will soon pass,” he added.