Virus adds to ongoing catastrophe for Palestinians

Palestinian refugees

No corner of the world has been untouched by the global coronavirus pandemic. And nothing more clearly demonstrates the ongoing Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”) for the Palestinian people than Covid 19.

Every May 15, Palestinians and their supporters commemorate the Nakba, events during which Zionist forces violently drove nearly a million Palestinians from their homes throughout 1947 to 1949.

“Personal Stories of the Nakba (The Catastrophe)” will be 1 p.m., Saturday, May 15, 2021. This NJP-produced video features three Palestinians sharing family stories from that time. Normally held in person in Bridge Square in downtown Northfield, the commemoration presented by Northfielders for Justice in Palestine/Israel will be held online this year because of coronavirus concerns. Click here to register.

As people around the world observe the Nakba of history, headlines of Israel’s successful immunization program hide an ongoing catastrophe in the Occupied Territories. For months, Israel has denied its obligation, under the Geneva Conventions, to vaccinate Palestinians.

Writing from the West Bank in February, Doctors Without Borders medical adviser Matthias Kennes said that Israeli citizens were 60 times more likely to be vaccinated than people in Palestine.

“If asked why vulnerable people cannot be vaccinated in Palestine, I do not know how to answer. It is inexplicable and unbelievable. Worse than that — it is unjust and cruel,” he wrote.

International aid groups, as well as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, are pressuring Israel to help vaccinate Palestinians. But the Occupied Territories still lag far behind their occupier in vaccinations and a return to “normalcy” – conditions that are harsh even in the best of times.

This online event is free and open to the public and is organized by Northfielders for Justice in Palestine/Israel, a diverse group of community members who organize local events to educate and advocate for justice and peace in Palestine/Israel. For more information about the event or NJP, visit the website at or write to