Journal Article

Life and Health Under Israeli Military Occupation During COVID-19: Report from the West Bank, Occupied Palestinian Territory

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This qualitative study explores lived experiences of Palestinians in the West Bank during the COVID-19 pandemic intersecting with life under Israeli military occupation, structural violence, and racism. Insight is provided into the pandemic’s effect on daily life and health and into coping and support mechanisms employed under apartheid conditions. Forty-three semi-structured interviews were conducted among a stratified sample of Palestinian adults. Interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic analysis. During the pandemic, Palestinian social lives were interrupted, jobs were lost, and incomes declined. Families fell into social and financial crises, with strife, insecurity, uncertainty, and fear negatively affecting physical and mental health. Pandemic effects were compounded by the Palestinian Authority’s shortcomings and policies not taking into account citizens’ rights and social protection and by Israel’s continued colonization of Palestinian land and violation of Palestinian human rights. Social solidarity was instrumental for coping during the pandemic just as it was during intensified political violence. One key feature that helped Palestinians survive promoting their cause for freedom, sovereignty, and self-determination is their social solidarity in times of strife. This has proven to be a crucial component in overcoming threats to the survival of a people during the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century.

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International Journal of Health Services