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Belgium NGOs call to put pressure on Israel to return blocked tax money

COVID-19 tests are being carried out at the Central Laboratory of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the city of Ramallah, West Bank on March 16, 2020 [Issam Rimawi / Anadolu Agency]
COVID-19 tests are being carried out at the Central Laboratory of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the city of Ramallah, West Bank on March 16, 2020 [Issam Rimawi / Anadolu Agency]

A number of Belgian NGOs have called to put pressure on the Israeli occupation authorities in order to release blocked Palestinian tax money to enable the Palestinian Authority (PA) to afford the medical kits necessary to fight the outbreak of the coronavirus, Quds Net News Agency reported on Friday.

This came in a letter sent by the NGOs to the Belgian Foreign Minister Philippe Goffin and the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, as well as to the European Union (EU) High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.

In the letter, the NGOs called for taking exceptional decisions and accelerating efforts to lift the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza for years, in order to facilitate the internationally-backed Palestinian associations to fight the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The NGOs highlighted the Israeli ban on the entry of medical equipment to the Gaza Strip and the essential kits needed for fight against the pandemic, stressing that these actions mount to crimes against humanity.

Meanwhile, the Head of the Belgium-Palestinian Friendship Association sent a letter to Goffin, asking him to quickly take the necessary steps towards putting pressure on Israel in order to allow the entry of medical equipment to Gaza, mainly respirators.

Covid19 in Palestine: Palestinians’ Double Struggle against an Epidemic and Apartheid

The head of the association stressed that his country must ask Israel to immediately release all Palestinian prisoners, mainly children, women and those under administrative detention, as well as to stop raiding Palestinian homes.

The head of the association sent the same letter to the Israeli Ambassador to Belgium Emmanuel Nahshon. He communicated to Nahshon that Israel as an occupying power must be responsible for the well-being of the Palestinians as stated by international law.

The NGOs called for the United Nations (UN) and the EU to offer immediate support to the Palestinians, to help them fight the coronavirus pandemic and to afford the required medical equipment.

READ: Are the Israelis really helping the Palestinians?

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