Coronavirus Restrictions Eased for Entry to Israel by Palestinian Workers
Palestinian workers from the West Bank have been permitted to enter Israel through official checkpoints for the first time since coronavirus closure measures were imposed. The renewed entry was allowed until the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of Ramadan (May 24) for workers in the construction, agriculture and industrial sectors, in coordination with the Israeli authorities and employers. Due to coronavirus restrictions, it was decided that the workers would not return daily to the West Bank but would stay overnight in Israel. If they do return to the West Bank before Eid al-Fitr, they will not be able to re-enter Israel during this period. The Palestinian Labor Ministry has announced that in understandings reached with the Israeli military’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, 39,000 Palestinian workers will be permitted to enter Israel. The Palestinian labor minister said that so far, 14,500 workers have left for work in Israel. Their entry into Israel was spread out over several days, according to a calculation of 300 workers per hour. The Palestinian labor minister also said that Israel prevented workers from entering without electronic permits, and called for openings in the Israeli West Bank barrier to be closed to prevent infiltration. The secretary-general of the Palestinian Union of Workers’ Committees said it had agreed that Israel would provide coronavirus safety measures such as masks to the workers, as well as proper accommodations.