Hamas coordinates coronavirus trainings for Gaza doctors, nurses in Israel: Reports

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Hamas has reportedly allowed medical teams from Gaza to receive coronavirus-related training in Israel, Al-Monitor reported citing media reports.

Twenty medical workers from Gaza reportedly attended a training course at the Erez crossing while “another group of doctors and nurses was later allowed to leave the Gaza Strip for training at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon in southern Israel.”

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Unidentified human rights sources reportedly told Al-Monitor that coordination for the training in Israel came through Israel’s Physicians for Human Rights. The organization reportedly “communicates directly” with the Gaza government.

One of the Al-Monitor’s sources also “claimed Hamas hides the relationship to avoid accusations of normalization with Israel.”

An adviser to the Ramallah Health Ministry confirmed to Al-Monitor that the ministry had “coordinated a meeting for 10 doctors from Gaza and 10 from Jericho with Israeli doctors to address COVID-19 and the medical measures needed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”

However, adviser Fathi Abu Warda told Al-Monitor he “found it odd” when another four Gaza doctors from the Gaza government, including the director of international cooperation in the Gaza Health Ministry, had received training inside Israel.

The four doctors, in addition to six nurses and lab technicians “underwent another training inside Israel, also without our knowledge,” Abu Warda is quoted by Al Monitor as saying.

“Everyone was taken aback that Gaza had coordinated such training, since the [Palestinian Authority] is known for coordinating with the Israeli side, not the Hamas government,” he reportedly added.

Abu Warda contacted the Gaza Health Ministry to inquire about the coordination, but he did not receive a response, according to Al-Monitor.

An anonymous source in the Gaza government reportedly told Al-Monitor that “the government does not want to talk to the media about the issue, so as not to publicize that there are relations between Israel and the Gaza government.”

The anonymous source is quoted by Al Monitor as saying, “According to international agreements, Israel is obligated to provide for Gaza’s medical and humanitarian needs.”

Gaza has recorded only 17 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Monday, all Palestinians returning from outside the Gaza Strip, according to AFP.

Those who contracted the virus have been placed in isolation immediately upon their return, AFP reported.

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