Skip to main content

Israel, Palestinians cooperate over coronavirus

When the crisis surrounding the coronavirus is finally over, Israelis and Palestinians alike will realize that it is possible to do things differently and cooperate in various areas.

What happened between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) March 17 at Israel’s border crossings with the West Bank hasn’t been seen since the second intifada erupted in 2000 and dreams of peace between Israel and the Palestinians came crashing down. Some 30,000 Palestinians left the West Bank carrying suitcases, blankets and sleeping bags, ready for a long stay in Israel.

Permits to stay in Israel overnight were given to tens of thousands of Palestinian laborers as part of a deal reached between the Palestinian Finance Ministry, with the approval of the Israeli security services and the Office for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). According to this agreement, reached in response to the novel coronavirus, Palestinian workers will be allowed to work in Israel on the condition that they stay for at least two months. In order to prevent the virus from crossing from one region to the other and to prevent the spread of the virus at border crossings, they would not be allowed to cross back into Palestinian territories during that time. The Union of Contractors in Israel and the Farmers' Federation of Israel made a promise to Minister of Civil Affairs in the PA Hussein al-Sheikh via COGAT that Palestinian workers would be provided with appropriate housing and their employers would ensure proper sanitary conditions are maintained.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.