19 ِAugust 2020

London - On World Humanitarian Day celebrated on 19 August every year, the world remembers with reverence the humanitarian workers who have been killed or injured in the course of their work. Each country, on this day, including its government, civil society, private sector, and people tribute to all the relief and health workers who continue to support and protect the people most in need despite all the challenges and difficulties. This year, International Humanitarian Day comes as global efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic that have continued over the past few months.

The attempt to contain and control the spread of Corona Virus in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as in other regions of the world, is not without exceptional efforts by unknown soldiers who left everything they care about behind to do their jobs and raise the flag of humanity.  The International Platform of NGOs working for Palestine “iPalestine”, on this day, illustrates that with difficulty reaching people, as well as restrictions imposed by the Palestinian government, have made local communities, civil society organizations, and local NGOs at the forefront of responding to this pandemic. These parties along with the medical staff have all stepped ahead, risked their survival, left their families, endured pressure and exhaustion and decided to be only humanitarian workers and help the Palestinian community and those in need for medical support to combat COVID-19.

While there are many true heros working for humanity, iPalestine sheds the light on the story of six Palestinians humanitarian workers working in the laboratory of the Central Ministry of Health who left their homes and families to work around the clock in response to the profession and the humanitarian call. Two young men along with 4 young women scarified their safety for the safety of the others. With no hesitation, these humanitarian workers encounter the COVID-19 virus in positive tests from zero point to apply the needed treatment measurements on those infected with COVID-19 providing a safer world for the rest of the people in their community. To shoulder this responsibility, these six humanitarian workers had to scarify being physically close to their families, children, homes, and the whole world for months to avoid physical interaction that may lead to any other local human to get infected with the virus, if any of the laboratory workers happen to catch the virus while testing it in the laboratory.

The humanitarian work is not limited on those who have direct contact with the virus or those who work on the medical sector. However, it expands to include the humanitarian work done by civil society organizations for the sake of preventing the spread of the virus. Many civil society organizations, despite the risk of reaching and contacting with people, worked on spreading awareness among the people concerning the virus, its symptoms, prevention instructions, and the extreme need of committing to applying social distancing and hygiene. Shatha Odeh, Director General of the Health Work Committees and President of the NGO Network, explained that the NGO network had placed, during the previous period, several centers affiliated with its institutions, at the disposal of the Ministry of Health, including a training center for the Agricultural Affairs in Zababdeh, Jenin District, and the Health Work Committees building in Tubas, which was handed over to Tubas Governorate to be turned into a treatment center, not just for isolation. She also indicated that many civil society health institutions have called on volunteers from various regions to work on awareness-raising, sterilization, and to provide medical consultations over the phone that included mental health for the injured and medical advice for people with chronic diseases and people with disabilities in this crisis.

The humanitarian role played by the Ministry of Health, civil and private medical institutions, and the public, in light of the Corona crisis, is an integrative role par excellence. The goal of that is the interest of the Palestinian citizen in the first place, and no party can say that it works alone, however, each party has its own value and need and are all in an integrative role that reflects positively on the citizens. Moreover, and according to Mustafa Al-Qawasmi, Director of the Ambulance and Emergency Unit at the Ministry of Health the areas in which the Ministry of Health cannot provide services are supplemented by the medical organizations of the civil society and private sector hospitals, which have also put themselves at the ministry's disposal. This itself shows the great value of humanitarian work that is played by more than one sector in the Palestinian community to serve the same one and only goal, ensuring the safety of the Palestinian citizens.

iPalestine, on this day encourages the civil society in Palestine to support the international campaign that will be launched all over the world to also celebrate the Palestinian heroes who stood up to help others under the harshest circumstances. Through this campaign civil society organizations need to shed the light on the inspiring personal stories of humanitarian workers who work in providing treatment for the Covid-19 pandemic and making efforts to prevent it, as well as providing food for vulnerable people in need, and providing safe places for women and girls during the period of economic closure; Providing care services in connection with childbirth; and management of refugee camps in light of this pandemic.

Honoring those who sacrificed for the sake of the homeland and the human being is not only a personal honor, but rather expresses the honor for the values ​​that they depart from, and motivation for generations after generations to take this path, and to take this path until human rights concepts are entrenched in states and societies.