Middle East Monitor / March 25, 2020
Palestinian workers in Israel are being urged by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh to return to the occupied West Bank.
The order comes in the wake of social media footage of a Palestinian labourer suffering from coronavirus symptoms being dumped by Israeli police officers at the Beit Sira checkpoint.
“In light of the dangerous, successive developments in Israel and expected measures banning movement, we call on all Palestinian labourers to return to their homes,” Shtayyeh wrote on Facebook. He added that doing so would “protect them and preserve their well-being.”
Shtayyeh also called on every Palestinian who returns to the occupied West Bank to follow his government’s directives aimed at preventing the spread of the virus. Anyone who violates them, he insisted, will be held accountable. All Palestinians, the Prime Minister pointed out, are required to stay in their homes unless they are going out for urgently needed food supplies or for medical purposes.
Last week, Israel said that Palestinian workers and merchants from the occupied West Bank would be allowed into the country if they stay for one to two months with the employer providing lodging. However, workers have been complaining about bad living conditions and mistreatment by their employers which prompted the PA to call on them to return home.
PA government spokesman Ibrahim Milhem blasted the poor living conditions that some Israeli employers have provided for their Palestinian employees. “The sleeping arrangements are not appropriate for human beings,” he told Wafa news agency.
The Palestinian authorities have said that so far 60 people in the West Bank have tested positive for the virus, including 16 who have recovered.