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NewsSri Lankan Christians urge Netanyahu to treat the Palestinian people with dignity & justice amidst the pandemic.

Sri Lankan Christians urge Netanyahu to treat the Palestinian people with dignity & justice amidst the pandemic.

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A group of Christians from Sri Lanka in solidarity with the people of Palestine has urged  the Government of Israel, to treat the Palestinian people with dignity and justice, at this critical juncture in history and not to  undermine the global health effort to counter COVID-19, and instead, respond urgently to the basic humanitarian needs of Palestinians residing in Gaza and the West Bank.

The letter follows:

23 rd April, 2020
Hon.Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister,
State of Israel

Christians from Sri Lanka in Solidarity with the people of Palestine

As a group of Christians from Sri Lanka in solidarity with the people of Palestine, we are deeply concerned by the distressing spread of COVID-19 across Gaza and the West Bank, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) reporting 474 confirmed cases in Palestine, at
the time of writing. We therefore, appeal to the Government of Israel, to treat the Palestinian people with dignity and justice, at this critical juncture in history.

We welcome the initial cooperation between the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the facilitation of donated masks and medical supplies to reach health facilities in Palestine. Further, we call on both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to come to an agreement to work together, to eradicate the COVID-19 virus completely, from their respective administrative zones. However, the long-standing restrictions imposed by the government of Israel on occupied Palestine, weakens the ability of the Palestinian systems to respond effectively to this deadly virus. Further, as a result of over 50-years of military occupation, the health care infrastructure in the West Bank and especially in Gaza, have been struggling well before the breakout of this global pandemic. Currently, Gaza has only 78 ICU beds and 63 ventilators 1 for a population of over two million.

In light of the public health crisis in Palestine, we call on the government of Israel to;
● Secure the availability and access to food, water and medicines for all.
● Enable equitable distribution of testing resources between Jewish and Palestinian areas in Jerusalem.
● Guarantee the unrestricted movement of medical supplies and healthcare personnel, to scale-up COVID testing and treatment in Palestine, particularly in anticipation of the return of Palestinian workers, to observe Ramadan with their families.
● Assure all Israeli checkpoints adhere to WHO health and hygiene recommendations, including regular sanitizing of surfaces and public areas, and physical distancing.
● Ensure adequate preventative measures (protective and hygienic facilities) are offered to Palestinian prisoners within the overcrowded Israeli military prison system.
● Release all child detainees, following appropriate testing, to avoid the pervasive spread of the virus within Israeli prisons and detention centres.
● Halt, with immediate effect, the destruction and seizure of property in the West Bank, in order to prevent escalating the humanitarian crisis.

We, as Christians from Sri Lanka in solidarity with the Palestinian people, urge the government of Israel to not undermine the global health effort to counter COVID-19, and instead, respond urgently to the basic humanitarian needs of Palestinians residing in Gaza and the West Bank.

1 Al Jazeera, Concerns grow COVID-19 is spreading undetected in Palestine -https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/concerns-grow-covid-19-spreading-undetected-palestine-200415094502070.html
Cc.
Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Israel Katz
Blue and White, Chairman, Benjamin Gantz
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka, Dinesh Gunawardena
Ambassador of Israel to India and Sri Lanka, Ron Malka
US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Alaina B. Teplitz
UNRWA Commissioner General, Philippe Lazzarini
UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Hanaa Singer
OHCHR Senior Human Rights Advisor, Juan Fernandez

Signatories:
1. Ainslie Joseph – Convenor, Christian Alliance for Social Action
2. Ando Anthappan
3. Anthony Jesudasan
4. Aruna Shantha Nonis
5. Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe
6. Bro. Lionel Peiris SSF
7. Chamly Coonghe
8. D.B.S. Jeyaraj – Journalist
9. Deanne Uyangoda
10. Deekshya Illangasinghe
11. Dileepa Wanniarachchi
12. Dilshan Fernando
13. Dinushika Dissanayake
14. Dr. Leonie Solomons – Executive Director, Language Matters
15. Dr. Rajan Hoole
16. Dr. S.B. Dhanapala
17. Eksith C. Fernando
18. Evangeline Lappen
19. Francis Priyankara Costa
20. Francis Raajan
21. Freddy Gamage – Meepura Webnews
22. G.P. Yogarajah
23. Gavin Felsinger
24. H. Prasanna Sanjeewa Peiris – Moratuwa
25. H. Shelton Peiris – Consultant, YMCA Pamunugama
26. Hadley Perera
27. Herman Kumara
28. Hilary Wirasinha – Reconciliation and Peace Desk, Diocese of Colombo
29. Jeanne Samuel
30. Joanne Senn
31. Lakshman Gunasekara
32. Lal Wijenayake – General Secretary, United Left Front
33. Lucille Abeykoon

34. Luwie Niranjan
35. Macmillan Fernando – Teacher, Dungalpitiya, Negombo
36. Marisa de Silva
37. Nagulan Nesiah
38. Nilshan Fonseka
39. Nimal I. Perera
40. Niranjala Fernando
41. Niyanthini Kadirgamar
42. Noel Ranjith Kariywasam
43. Oshadee Manaperi
44. P. Selvaratnam
45. Peter Rezel
46. Philip Damian
47. Philip Dissanayake
48. Prabu Deepan
49. Prathiba Perera
50. Quintus Colombage – Journalist
51. Ralston Weinman
52. Ravi Ratnasabapathy
53. Rev. Andrew Devadason – Anglican Church in Sri Lanka
54. Rev. Asiri P. Perera – President Bishop, Methodist Church Sri Lanka
55. Rev. C.D. David
56. Rev. Dr. Jayasiri T. Peiris
57. Rev. Fr. Aloysius Pieris, s.j.
58. Rev. Fr. Arunpushparaj
59. Rev. Fr. Daniel Thayalan
60. Rev. Fr. Jeevantha Peiris
61. Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos
62. Rev. Fr. John Kalainesan
63. Rev. Fr. M. V. E. Ravichandran
64. Rev. Fr. Nandana Manatunga
65. Rev. Fr. Oswald Firth – Chairman, People’s Association for Peace and Development
66. Rev. Fr. Ramesh Vegneswaran
67. Rev. Fr. Reid Shelton Fernando
68. Rev. Fr. S.V.B. Mangalarajah
69. Rev. Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda
70. Rev. Fr. Sherard Jayawardane
71. Rev. Fr. T. Dixon
72. Rev. Fr. Terence Fernando
73. Rev. Fr. V. Yogeswaran s.j. – Centre for Justice and Change
74. Rev. Jason J. Selvaraja – Assembly of God, Chavakachcheri
75. Rev. Jude Sutharshan Mahendren – Parish Priest, Alaveddy Parish, CACM
76. Rev. Jurinesz Shadrach – Diocese of Colombo, Church of Ceylon (Anglican)
77. Rev. M. Billimoria
78. Rev. Maxwell Doss – General Secretary, The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka
79. Rev. Noel Fernando – The Church Of Ceylon, Diocese Of Colombo
80. Rev. S.D.P. Selvan
81. Rev. Sr. Chandrika Liyanarachchi
82. Rev. Sr. Goretti Leon
83. Rev. Sr. Jacintha Gabriel
84. Rev. Sr. Jenita Ragal
85. Rev. Sr. Jeyam Visuvasam

86. Rev. Sr. Nichola Emmanuel
87. Rev. Sr. Noel Christine Fernando
88. Rev. Sr. Rasika Pieris (HF)
89. Rev. Sr. Sylvia Cullen
90. Ridma Fonseka – Youth Worker/General Secretary, YMCA of Pamunugama
91. Rosemary Fernando
92. Ruki Fernando
93. Sandun Thudugala
94. Sarah Arumugam
95. Savery Sebastian – Dharmapuram, Mullaitivu
96. Sudath Neththasingha – Lawyer, Ja-Ela
97. Titus Fernando – Human Rights Activist, Pitipana, Negombo
98. Vasee Nesiah
99. Ven. George Melder
100. Vincent Bulathsinghala
101. Wijith Rohan – Lecturer, Christian Cultural Department, University of Kelaniya
102. Yalini Dream
103. Yamini Ravindran

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