From a Conventional Battle of The 1967’s Conflict to the Invisible War of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Re-Examining the British Healthcare and Humanitarian Aid to Palestine

Document Type : Original Article


School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia


This study re-examines the healthcare and humanitarian aid contributed by the British government and the British NGOs to the Palestinians during the Arab-Israelis War of 1967 and the current Covid-19 pandemic age. The objective of the research is to compare the significant efforts initiated by the British government and their NGOs to Palestine in two different occasions. After the end of Six-Day War of 1967, many Palestinian displaced persons lived in a poor condition at refugee’s camps scattered in Syria and Jordan.  As a result of the unhygienic and inadequacy of a basic living facilities such as a clean sanitation system, the refugees experienced various contagious and non-contagious diseases such as gastroenteritis, hepatitis A and diverse skin infections. During this difficult time, the British government, and NGOs tirelessly contributed in various means to assist the displaced individuals and refugees in handling health disaster. Subsequently, the same thing occurs when the World, including Palestine is haunted with the current invisible Covid-19 virus, which appears to be another health catastrophe to the Palestinians. Hence, this study is re-examining the role and contribution of the British government and their NGOs to assist the Palestine Authority to face the imperceptible enemy which caused a pernicious plague. Regardless of religious beliefs, the noble efforts of those parties are appearing to be a humanitarian bridge which connecting humankind across continents, generations, and political ideology.


  1. Abdul Rahim, O (1967). A report of medical view by Dr. Abdul Rahim. Enclosed in a letter from Everett C.D.H, Washington to McLean C., London (File series FCO 17/195. London: The National Archives.
  2. Action Aid (2021). Coronavirus in the occupied Palestinian territory Retrieved on 11 February 2021.
  3. Aljazeera (2020, November 2). Gaza declares COVID-19 disaster with health system near collapse by Waleed Mahmood. 11 /23/gaza-declares-covid-19-disaster-with-health-system-near-collapse. Retrie ved 10 February 2021.
  4. Anayah, F.; Al-Khatib, I.A.; Hejaz, B. (2021). Assessment of water and sanitation systems at Palestinian healthcare facilities: pre- and post-COVID-19. Environ Monit Assess 19341.
  5. Bar-Or, I.; Yaniv, K.; Shagan, M.; Ozer, E.; Erster, O.; Mendelson, E.; et al. (2020). Regressing SARS-CoV-2 sewage measurements onto COVID-19 burden in the population: A proof-of concept for quantitative environmental surveillance. medRxiv, 1 – 11.
  6. Bhowmick, G. D.; Dhar, D.; Nath, D.; Ghangrekar, M. M.; Banerjee, R.; Das, S., et al. (2020). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak: Some serious consequences with urban and rural water cycle. NPJ Clean Water, 3, 32.
  7. Bowker, R. (2003). Palestinian Refugees. Mythology, Identity and the Search for Peace. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
  8. Brenchley, F. (2005). Britain, the Six-Day War and Aftermath. London: I.B Tauris.
  9. British Consulate General in Jerusalem (2020). New Covid-19 Funding to Assist the Vulnerable Elderly. Retrieved on 9 February 2020.

10. British Red Cross Society (October 24, 1967). Fund Raised for the UNRWA (File 17/195). London: The National Archives.

11. Buehrig, E. (1971). The United Nations and the Palestinian Refugees. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

12. Claverly, J. (2020). UK aid to Palestine. Retrieved on 9 February 2021.

13. Claverly, J. (2020, April 21). UNRWA: Coronavirus- Question for Department for International Development from Alex Norris, MP (Nottingham North). Retrieved on 11 February 2021.

14. Department of International Development (2020). UK aid will help provide millions of Palestinians with healthcare and education. government/news/uk-aid-will-help-provide-millions-ofpalestinians-with-health car e-and-education. Retrieved on 9 February 2021.

15. European Commission (2017).  Palestine. ECHO factsheet. European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operation. countries/factsheets/opt_en.pdf. Retrieved on 10 February 2021.

16. Farkas, K.; Hillary, L. S.; Malham, S. K.; McDonald, J. E.; Jones, D. L. (2020). Wastewater and public health: the potential of wastewater surveillance for monitoring COVID-19. Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health, 17, 14–20.

17. Foreign Office (1967a). Record of Assisting to Refugees (Files series FO1016/780 and FCO 17/126), The National Archives, London.

18. Foreign Office (1967b). Excerpt from the Foreign Office’s news statement (file series FO 1016/780), The National Archives, London.

19. Global Protection Cluster (2016). Protection cluster occupied Palestinian Territory Retrieved on 10 February 2021.

20. Gussing, N.G. (1968). A report quoted in Sir Antony Buzzard note- ‘Israel and the Arab: The Way Forward’. In A report for Advisory Sub-committee of the International Department of British Council of Churches and The Conference of British Missionary Society (File series FCO 17/203). London: The National Archives.

21. Halim B; Dodd, P (1968). Refugees: Uprootedness and Exile: A Sociology Study on June Refugees. Beirut:  Institute for Palestine Study. 

22. Lord, C (1967). Notes in the letter from Moberly, J.C at Foreign Office to Mrs. S. Littler at H.M Treasury (File series FO 17/196), The National Archives, London.

23. Medical Aid for Palestinians -MAP (2021). About the MAP. Retrieved on 11 February 2021.

24. Medical Aid for Palestinians -MAP (2020). COVID-19 emergency update: MAP calls on UK to help Gaza breathe as oxygen supplies dwindle. Retrieved on 11 February 2021.

25. Michelmore, L. (1967). A Report of the Commissioner-General of the UNRWA, Lawrence Michelmore to the Second Session of the UN General Assembly. In file supplement no.13/A/6712 accessed in Retrieved on 10 February 2021.

26. Ministry of Health, Unit of Information System, Palestine National Authority (2020). Daily report for COVID 19 virus. wp-content/ uploads/2020/03/Corona-Eng.-1-4.pdf. Retrieved on 10 February 2021.

27. ____________ Ministry of Health, Palestine (2021, February 10) Covid-19 Daily Update. Retrieved on 10 February 2021.

28. Moberly, J.C. (1967). A letter to Mrs. S. Litter (File series FCO17/196). London: The National Archives.

29. Moss, D. (2020). Battling COVID-19 in the occupied Palestinian territory. The Lancet Global Health, 8 (9), 1127-1128.

30. Motion, B. L (1968). A statement by Lord Motion in a Record of House of Lords debate on 28 June 1968 (File series FCO 17/195) London: The National Archives.

31. OCHA (2017). Humanitarian bulletin: occupied Palestinian Territory. files/hummonitor_september_2017_final.pdf. Retrieved on 10 February 2021.

32. Parsons, N. (2005). The Politics of the Palestinian Authority: From Oslo to Al-Aqsa. London: Routledge.

33. Patai, R. (1956). The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Cumberland: Yale University Press.

34. Rae, C.R. A. (1967). A letter from Rae, Ministry of Overseas Development to Mr. Urwick, A.B, British Embassy, Washington (File series FCO 17/283). London: The National Archive.

35. Refugees Working Group (1992). A refugee definition. RWG.

36. Roscoe, J. (2020). A statement by Ambassador James Roscoe, acting UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, at the Security Council briefing on Middle East Peace Process. Retrieved on 9 February 2020.

37. SCBOAR (1968). A report of Refugee’s Statistic (File series FCO 17/126), The National Archive, London.

38. Schiff, B. (1995). Refugees into the Third Generation: UN Aid to the Palestinians. New York: Syracuse University Press.

39. Sherine El-Taraboulsi-McCarthy. (2018). HPG Working Paper: A Humanitarian Sector in Debt. Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

40. Tripp, P. (1967). A report- The Refugees Problem in Jordan. In a letter from Mr. Tripp to Mr. Brown (File series FCO17/124). London: The National Archives.

41. United Nations Development Programme. (2014). The 2014 Palestine human development report: Development for empowerment. UNDP

42. United Nations General Assembly Documents (1984). UNRWA -Consolidated Eligibility Instruction (Document Rev. 7/83), The National Archives, London.

43. United Nations General Assembly Document (1993). UN file A/48/486- Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, the Oslo Accord of 1993. IL% 20 PS_930913_DeclarationPrinciplesnterimSelf-Government%28Oslo%20Accords %29.pdf. Retrieved on 9 February 2021.

44. UNRWA (1970) A Report on Social Situation in Jordan and the New Displaced Persons (File series FCO 17/108). London: The National Archives.

45. UNRWA (1967) A Report by UNRWA Liaison Group (File series FCO 17/195), The National Archives, London.

46. Viorst, M. (1989a). Reaching for the Olive Branch: UNRWA and Peace in the Middle East. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

47. Viorst, M. (1989b). Palestinian Refugees and non-Refugees in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Journal of Refugee Studies, 2(1).

48. Welfare Association of UK (2021). About the Welfare Association and what we do? Retrieved on 11 February 2021.

49. World Health Organization-WHO (2021) Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Report on 10 February 2021.

50. World Health Organization-WHO (2020a). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation report 27. Campaign.aspx?d=j&c=99FA4938D049E3A8&ID=2CABFCD9BB8C671B2540EF23F30FEDED&temp=False&tx=0&source=Report%20. Retrieved on 10 February 2021.

51. Word Health Organization-WHO (2020b). Monthly Report, December 2020: Health Access Barriers. documents/WHO_Dec_2020_Monthly_Report.pdf?ua=1. Retrieved on 10 February 2021.

52. World Health Organization- WHO (2018). Right to health 2018. health _2018_web-final.pdf? ua=1. Retrieved on 10 February 2021.

53. YMCA (1950). Unpublished report by Frase E. Smith, the provision of YMCA clubs for the young men among refugees in Beirut dated 16 January. In file series FCO 17/195. London: The National Archive.