Another Palestinian was found to have coronavirus, a woman who returned from the United States. The number of Palestinians coronavirus patients has risen to 60, 58 in Judea and Samaria and two in the Gaza Strip (no change). So far 17 Palestinians have been discharged from hospitals.
- The lockdown declared by Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh is enforced by the Palestinian security forces. According to reports, in the PA the streets are almost completely empty, and stores and businesses are closed. Despite warnings issued to vendors, many Palestinians complained of exorbitant prices charged for basic commodities and face masks. The PA announced that stores would remain open and that there was no lack of goods.
- Following are some developments related to the PA’s relations with Israel in the face of the coronavirus threat:
- On March 22, 2020, the Palestinian ministry of the treasury received 120 million shekels (a little over $33 million) from Israel as payment of funds which had been the subject of long negotiations and accounting. The PA demanded the release of an additional 650 million shekels (about $180 million), tax revenues deducted by Israel. Moshe Kahlon, the Israeli minister of the treasury, refused to transfer the additional funds.
- Senior Palestinian figures strongly demanded that Israel release the Palestinian security prisoners, or at least the ones with chronic ailments, and the young prisoners. Senior Palestinian figures, on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, appealed to the International Red Cross and the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the Palestinians’ demands.
- Israeli media reports about the lack of sleeping arrangements in Israel for Palestinian workers have led to strong criticism and protests from the PA government. The government spokesman also claimed that the Palestinian workers’ places of employment in Israel had turned into “coronavirus incubation centers” (a claim with no basis in fact).
- In the Gaza Strip the number of Palestinians with coronavirus remains steady at two. According to reports they have mild cases and are in a quarantine center. The Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip and Hamas operatives continue implementing a variety of preventive measures: the crossings are closed, public places are disinfected, 400 prisoners were released from jail, quarantine units are being constructed (200 units in the northern Gaza Strip have been completed), and there is coordination between Hamas and Egypt (including the exchange of information about coronavirus patients). However, Hamas has not yet imposed a complete lockdown on the Gaza Strip as planned by the PA.
In view of the coronavirus, two recent statements assign Israel responsibility for the situation in the Gaza Strip: Ashraf al-Qid