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Thursday, July 29, 2021

When Community Engagement Restored Trust and Raised Public Index of Suspicion for COVID-19

Kampala, 4 September 2020:- When the World Health Organization (WHO), declared the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic, on 11th March 2020, many Ugandans didn’t take it seriously with many saying it was a disease for the affluent, the very high class or for developed countries. As the disease ravaged the entire world, Ugandans…
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    Settlers ramp up battle for Area C, with 14 West Bank marches

    In a massive push to highlight the dangers of a Palestinian seizure of state lands in Area C of the West Bank, right-wing activists and settler leaders plan to hold 14 simultaneous marches late Monday afternoon.

    Organizers called on supporters of the settlement movement to “stop with their feet illegal Arab control,” explaining that the “war for state lands” had moved onto a new level.

    The Joint List wrote a letter to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz to halt the marches. It also asked the international community to intervene, warning that the rallies could reignite the same level of violence that occurred in May, which led to an 11-day IDF-Hamas war.

    Just last week, the country weathered a right-wing march in Jerusalem, where activists danced with Israeli flags at Damascus Gate, and Palestinians in Gaza launched incendiary balloons in response. There had been a fear that the event could lead to a renewed Gaza war.

    The Joint List statement said the marches were not a freedom-of-protest issue, but a well-planned provocation by extremist, colonial settler occupiers with paramilitary elements.

    “These marches will take place solely in occupied Palestinian lands, and so they call for international attention,” the Joint List stated in a letter it penned to international envoys stationed in Israel and the Palestinian territories. “This could instigate a full escalation similar to the one we experienced in May.”

    The Yesha Council, headed by Jordan Valley Regional Council head David Elhayani, has not endorsed the event. But about 10 members of the council have done so, including regional council heads in the South Hebron Hills, Gush Etzion, Binyamin and Samaria.

    Council heads from Kedumim, Beit El, Karnei Shomron, Kiryat Arba and Hebron also support the initiative.

    “It is our duty to do everything legally passive to stop the savage Arab invasion of Area C to stifle Jewish settlement and establish facts on the ground,” settler leaders said in a joint statement and called on their supporters to join the marches set for 4:30 p.m. “Together we will head out to explore the area, to occupy the space with our feet and demand that the authorities enforce the law in the area out of a deep belief that this land is ours.”

    The marches will take place in all regions of the West Bank, including places with illegal Palestinian construction that the Right wants dismantled, such as Khan al-Ahmar, and illegal Jewish building that the Right wants authorized, such as the Evyatar outpost.

    It is the largest settler initiative since its failed campaign to legalize West Bank outposts.

    The marches are the latest phase of the grassroots battle in Area C of the West Bank, which is under IDF military and civilian control. Palestinians believe it is part of their future state, while the Israeli Right maintains it should be part of its sovereign borders.

    Both groups believe the territory they settle and/or control will determine future sovereignty over the area.

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