Information for a Press Release:
Israel has demolished Hebron’s Covid 19 Testing Centre
Early on Tuesday, 21 July 2020, the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank oversaw the demolition of a Covid 19 Test Center located just outside the northern entrance to the city of Hebron. Hebron is currently the epicentre of the Corona outbreak in the West Bank, accounting for roughly 80 percent of all infections. The Covid Test Centre would have been a key line of defence in the population’s battle to contain the virus.
Construction of the Covid Test Centre had begun in March, with clear signage indicating the humanitarian purpose of the building works. The Centre was located on land donated to the Hebron Municipality by a private landowner. Since it is extremely rare for Palestinians to be granted planning permission in Area C of the West Bank, construction began without a permit.
On July 12th, with the Test Centre only two days away from completion, the Israeli Civil Administration issued demolition orders, using the controversial Military Order 1797, which has been criticised by human rights lawyers for the way in which it bypasses normal recourses to appeal.
This is not the first time that Israel has moved to squash Palestinian pandemic responses:
back in April, the Jerusalem police closed a COVID-19 testing station that was opened in the Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem, citing a law prohibiting Palestinian Authority activity in the city.