PA institutes ban on working in 'settlements'

PA eases lockdown, but also bans work in "Israeli settlements" and the return of Palestinian workers from Israel.

Dalit Halevi ,


Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Mohammed Shtayyeh on Monday announced a relief of the lockdown which has been imposed on PA residents over the past 45 days due to the coronavirus.

Speaking at a press conference in Ramallah, Shtayyeh said that the factories could return to work at a capacity of up to 50 percent and provided there was full compliance with the guidelines of the PA health bureau.

At the same time, mosques and churches as well as banquet halls and mourning tents will remain closed for fear of spreading the virus. In addition, Shtayyeh said that the PA cabinet will ban the mass gatherings of meal to break the Ramadan fast that are to begin next week. Schools and universities will also remain closed for the time being.

The PA cabinet leader further announced a ban on the movement of Palestinian Arab workers from their jobs in Israel to their homes in PA areas. The provision will be in effect until coronavirus testing is arranged in coordination with Israel.

PA officials claim that 79 percent of the PA’s coronavirus patients are Palestinian Arabs who worked in Israel and people who came in contact with those workers.

PA officials have accused Israel of spreading the coronavirus in PA-assigned territories. Last week, PA cabinet spokesperson Ibrahim Milhem claimed that "Israelis are not taking the prevention measures seriously because they love money and want to keep the production wheel working.”

Milhem added that "the settlements, gas stations and hotels in Israel are greenhouses of the epidemic."

Shtayyeh last week urged Palestinian Arabs to avoid visiting “Israelis settlements” in order to stop the spread of the virus.