Coronavirus outbreak:
Bennett orders reduction in number of Arab workers entering Israel

Closure on Bethlehem and the Gaza Strip will continue. Kerem Shalom crossing will operate as usual.

Ido Ben Porat ,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Tal Oz, Defense Ministry

Following a security consultation, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday night approved further steps in relation to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Gaza Strip in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Regarding PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria, as of Wednesday, the entry of Palestinian Arab workers and traders will only be permitted for vital sectors of the economy, in the following areas: Health, agriculture, nursing, and construction. Other areas will be defined in accordance with the specific need of the Ministry of Defense and the National Emergency Management Authority.

Palestinian Arab workers entering Israeli territory will be hosted in Israel for a period of one to two months. The hosting, in all its aspects, will be the responsibility of the employers, subject to commitments that will be agreed upon with the defense establishment. These directives apply only to employees who hold security clearance from the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).

Bennett instructed that the passage of goods continue as usual, as will the closure on the Bethlehem area. In addition, Israelis are prohibited from entering Areas A and B, except in unusual cases with individual approval.

The Defense Minister ordered that the closure on Gaza continue until further notice. The Kerem Shalom goods crossing will continue to operate as usual.

The decisions were made in coordination with the IDF, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the National Security Council and the Shin Bet, and in consultation with the Minister of Construction and Housing, Dr. Yifat Shasha Biton, and were approved by the Prime Minister.