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Coronavirus reveals Palestinian economic dependence on Israel

The coronavirus crisis reveals the dependence of the Palestinian economy on its Israeli counterpart, especially with regard to workers and the sources of income of thousands of families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
A healthcare worker checks the body temperature of Palestinian workers returning from Israel, amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), outside the Israeli-controlled Meitar checkpoint, near Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank April 7, 2020. Picture taken April 7, 2020. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma - RC280G9AG6MG

Ever since the coronavirus outbreak in late February in both the Palestinian territories and Israel, several sectors have been successively affected, most notably the Palestinian economy, which the virus revealed to be fully dependent on Israel and its decisions. This is especially true with regard to Palestinian workers in Israel and the sources of income of tens of thousands of families in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which showed the Palestinian Authority's (PA) clear failure to provide local economic alternatives.

Ghassan al-Khatib, former Palestinian minister of labor and planning in Ramallah, told Al-Monitor, “Both before and after the coronavirus outbreak, Palestinians have been under the control of Israel, and they are completely dependent on its economy despite attempts to disengage from it. However, a large number of Palestinians work in Israel, which also controls our crossings, hence the negative consequences on our economy. Add to this the political consequences of such dependence.”

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