Palestine, just like the whole world, struggles with the spread of the coronavirus. As Palestinians fight corona, the Israeli occupation forces and settlers keep demolish Palestinian houses, attack locals and detain innocent Palestinains.
- 21 June – Social affairs minister tightens control over residential institutions amid coronavirus outbreak
Minister of Social Affairs, Ahmad Majdalani, issued a set of decisions to maintain tight control over residential institutions to maintain tight control over residential institutions, especially those that care for the elderly, people with disabilities, children, women and orphans, while emphasizing the continued ban on visits to these institutions due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
- 20 June – Governor of Nablus orders full closure of city amid sharp rise in COVID-19 infections
Ibrahim Ramadan, the Governor of Nablus, ordered today a full shutdown of the city for 48 hours after at least 26 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed during the past 24 hours in the city.
- 20 June – Premier reinstates restrictions as coronavirus cases rise sharply
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh reinstated a set of restrictions after experiencing a surge of coronavirus infections. The premier ordered stricter measures in an effort to contain the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Palestine, including a five-day lockdown of Hebron Governorate, the worst-hit district of the West Bank.
- Movement in and out of Hebron will be barred for five days with the exception of cargo trucks, in order to enable medical teams to control the spread of the disease. Only pharmacies, bakery shops, and factories will be allowed to work during the upcoming five days, provided that all the health and safety requirements are met.
- He ordered a 48-hour complete shutdown of Nablus city to enable the medical teams to trace contacts of every newly diagnosed case of COVID-19.
- The Prime Minister also declared an immediate ban on weddings and graduation parties, mourning houses and all forms of public gatherings in all West Bank governorates.
- He demanded all public and private facilities, factories and stores of all kinds in addition to cafes and restaurants, to adhere to the conditions of public safety, warning breachers of closure and being brought to justice.
- Beginning tomorrow, the cabinet ministers will be asked to reduce the movement of their employees between the governorates unless necessary, with the exception of the employees from Hebron who will be required to work inside the governorate.
- A full closure will be imposed on every village, camp, neighborhood, or city where the coronavirus is spread and in a manner that poses a risk to the entire population.
- Those who insist on violating the quarantine conditions and putting others at risk of being infected or dying from the virus will be brought to justice for trial. “There is no longer any room for tolerance in the matter. The safety procedures are very simple: compliance with COVID-19 social distancing orders, and the use of a facemask in markets, public places, workplace and others. This is a compulsory measure that all citizens have to abide by,” he stated.
- Work in Israeli settlements shall be strictly forbidden during the pandemic, and that stricter measures will be imposed in the event of non-compliance.
- The emergency committees will be activated in various villages and communities to support the work of the security services, especially in hard-to-reach areas.
- 19 June – Governor of Ramallah orders lockdown of village with COVID-19 cases
The Governor of Ramallah, ordered a full closure of the village of Qarawat Bani Zeid after two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the village.
- 17 June – EU, WHO deliver vital medical supplies to East Jerusalem hospitals for COVID-19 response
A substantial delivery of personal protective equipment and medical items was supplied today by the European Union (EU) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to the East Jerusalem Hospitals Network (EJHN) to support preparedness for COVID-19.
- 03 June – President Abbas extends state of emergency for 30 more days over coronavirus
President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree extending the state of emergency for 30 more days starting June 4amidst the coronavirus outbreak in the occupied territories.
- 28 May – Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to reopen for worship as of Sunday
After around two months of forced closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam, will reopen for worship starting Sunday. Worshippers will be required to abide by certain health-related rules in light of the pandemic, including wearing masks, bringing their own prayer rugs and standing a distance of two-meters apart, in addition to other precautions.
- 25 May – Premier declares end to corona lockdown, decides return to normal life, with caution
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh declared an end to the two-months long lockdown on the Palestinian territories declared early March. If the number of cases increase, the lockdown will be re-imposed. Courts, all government ministries and institutions, shops, mosques, churches, public transportation, parks, nurseries, restaurants, coffee shops, events halls and educational institutions will return to normal scheduling starting on Tuesday.
- 23 May – Church of Holy Sepulcher to be reopened amid strict safety restrictions
The heads of the three Christian communities of Jerusalem said in a statement that starting on Sunday, May 24, 2020, the church will be accessible again to the faithful for visits and prayers. At the beginning the number will be ed to 50 persons and the Basilica will be accessible only to those who have no fever or symptoms of infection and are wearing suitable face coverings. “It will also be necessary to keep a minimal distance of two meters between each person and to avoid any act of devotion that might include physical contact such as touching and kissing the stones, icons, vestments and the personnel in the Basilica; as well as abide always by the given instructions,” added the statement.
- 23 May – Movement of people banned in Palestine until Monday evening
People and vehicles will have to stay home until the evening of Monday, May 25, 2020, and all public and private facilities were shut down, with the exception of pharmacies and bakeries which people can only arrive at on foot.
- 19 May – Al-Aqsa Mosque to reopen for Muslim worshippers after holiday, says Waqf department
Al-Aqsa Mosque will reopen for Muslim worshippers soon after the end of Eid al-Fitr holiday next week after two months of closure due to the coronavirus outbreak.
- 16 May – Premier says movement to be banned during upcoming Eid al-Fitr
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said today that the government has decided to ban movement of the public during upcoming Eid al-Fitr holiday, as part of nationwide efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Movement will be banned in all cities, towns and villages, from the evening of Friday, May 22, to the evening of Monday, May 25.
- 10 May – Egypt to reopen Rafah crossing for return of stranded Palestinians
Egyptian authorities will reopen the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip for three days this week to allow Palestinians stranded in Egypt to return home. The crossing has been shut down since mid-March as part the precautionary measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the Gaza Strip. The Rafah border crossing is currently the only link between the Gaza Strip and the outside world, since another two crossings are tightly controlled by Israel.
- 05 May – Premier announces ease on coronavirus lockdown restrictions
Premier Mohammad Shtayyeh announced a partial ease on the lockdown restrictions:
- The public would be allowed to go around in daytime, but have to remain in house in nighttime, and some businesses would be allowed to resume work.
- The relaxation stage will see barbershops and hair saloons re-opening on Fridays and Saturdays everywhere, except for governorates infected with COVID-19, provided that the hairdressers comply with safety measures while working, including wearing masks and gloves.
- It will also see construction sites reopening in all governorates, and clothing, footwear and home appliances stores reopening throughout the week in the governorates not infected with the virus and for three days in governorates infected with the virus.
- Jewelry stores will be allowed to resume work on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays, while restrictions on banking will be more eased in non-infected governorates.
- Public transportation will return in the non-infected governorates of Tubas, Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqilia, Salfit and Jericho, and private transportation between these non-infected governorates will also return.
- Restrictions on public gatherings, including mosques, churches, kindergartens, nurseries, and academic institutions, will remain in place.
- 05 May – President Abbas declares new state of emergency in Palestinian territories to confront coronavirus
President Mahmoud Abbas issued early this morning a new decree declaring a new state of emergency in the Palestinian territories starting today and for 30 days.
- 04 May – Prime Minister recommends extending state of emergency in Palestine due to coronavirus
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh recommended to President Mahmoud Abbas to extend by another month the two-month long state of emergency imposed to fight coronavirus pandemic.
President Abbas is expected to look into this recommendation today and if a decision was made to extend the state of emergency, the government will continue its current measures of gradual easing of the lockdown while keeping in mind the health of the general public, said the statement.
- 04 May – Israel Temporarily Opens Crossings for Palestinians Workers despite Coronavirus Fears
Israel has reopened a number of crossings following an agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA), in a move that allows thousands of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank seeking employment opportunities to return to work, despite fears of being exposed to the new coronavirus. The two-day opening, expected to last until Monday, will see some 40,000 Palestinians cross over for work, mostly in construction and agriculture. Despite the dangers associated with the pandemic, many Palestinians still choose to risk their lives for wages during a particularly financially challenging time.
- 30 April – Ramallah restaurants to open only for delivery
Restaurants in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority, will be allowed to open, but only for delivery as long as they adhere to strict health measures.
- 29 April – Palestinian Standards Institute, Ministry of Health approve al-Quds University medical ventilator
The Palestinian Standards Institute (PSI) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) officially approved the medical ventilator that was designed and produced by Al-Quds University’s (AQU) faculties of engineering and medicine, and was unveiled earlier this month.
With less than 250 ventilators available in Palestinian hospitals, AQU’s ventilator will prove to be one of the most vital and timely inventions Palestine is yet to witness.
- 20 April – Majority of Palestinians continues to positively evaluate government’s Covid19 performance
A second public opinion poll on government handling of Covid19 outbreak conducted by the Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) in the period between April 13 and 17 on a sample of 650 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip found out that 75% of the respondents rated the performance of the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh as good, 20% as average, and 5% as weak.
- Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem will remain closed to worshipers during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan, which is to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
- State of Emergency – Palestine’s COVID-19 Response Plan
The Government of Palestine (GoP) has quickly and effectively responded to the outbreak of COVID-19, using an internationally and nationally coordinated, data-driven approach to contain the spread of the virus within our borders. The GoP approach is containment and suppression, which is designed to protect the citizens (particularly the most vulnerable) from infection while also mitigating the stress on the already strained health care system. The GoP immediately declared a State of Emergency when the first cases in the State of Palestine were diagnosed on 5 March 2020 and launched robust national containment measures, supported by an evidence-based communications campaign to encourage the citizens to protect themselves and follow government guidance. So far, the State of Palestine has one of the lowest rates of virus spread and almost no community transmission.
- 7 April – Car sterilization shop opens at entrance to West Bank city
A coronavirus car-sterilization shop has opened at one entrance road into the city of Hebron. A local resident has proposed setting up a car sterilization station and all cars entering Hebron from the northern entrance would go through a tent-like structure where they will get sprayed with alcoholic disinfectants to sterilize the outer body in case they were carrying the coronavirus.
- 3 April – President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree extending the state of emergency for a month amidst a rise in coronavirus cases in the occupied territories
“We have decided to extend the state of emergency for 30 days throughout the occupied Palestinian territories to confront the coronavirus outbreak,” read Article (1) of the presidential decree.
The extension came following the recommendation of Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, who recommended that Abbas extends the state of emergency to enable the health and security services to control the spread of COVID-19.
As part of the new measures, Shtayyeh announced that movement hours will be reduced in all the West Bank cities to between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and all the stores should close after 5 p.m except for pharmacies.
- 12 May – Adalah demands Israel protect prisoners in overcrowded Gilboa prison from COVID-19 outbreak
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – has filed an urgent petition to the Israeli Supreme Court demanding that Israeli authorities take all necessary actions to protect the 450 “security prisoners” being held in the overcrowded Gilboa prison from a COVID-19 outbreak.
- 11 May – UN officials call for immediate release of Palestinian child detainees
In a joint press statement, Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory, Genevieve Boutin, UNICEF Special Representative in State of Palestine, and James Heenan, Head of the UN Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territory, expressed serious concern over the continued detention of Palestinian children by the Israeli army, particularly in light of the current COVID-19 outbreak.
- Israeli violations – May 2020
- Message to the international community
- Letter of HE Dr Riad Malki, Minister of Forcign Affaires and Expatriates sent to HE Mr Antonio Guterres, Secretary-Gen ral of the United Nations
- Letter of HE Dr Riad Malki sent to HE Mr Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross
- Letter of HE Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations sent to HE Ms. Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Right
- Letter of HE Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi sent to HE Mr Peter Maurer
- Israeli violations – April 2020
- March – Israel detained 357 Palestinians in March, including 48 children
Despite widespread concern over the coronavirus outbreak, Israel nevertheless detained last month 357 Palestinians in raids throughout the occupied Palestinian territories, including 48 children under 18 years of age and four women, today said Palestinian prisoners’ advocacy groups. By the end of March, Israel is holding some 5000 Palestinian political prisoners, including 41 women and 180 minors. In addition, 430 Palestinians are held in administrative detention for extended periods of time without charge or trial, 92 of them placed in detention last month.
- 21 June – Qatar Contributes $1.5m to support Gaza food aid
Qatar Charity signed a contribution agreement for $1.5 million with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of the Agency’s food assistance programme in Gaza. This contribution bolsters UNRWA’s efforts to support refugee families during the COVID-19 pandemic, further boosting the Agency’s comprehensive COVID-19 response, which includes home delivery of food aid and medication to mitigate the spread of the virus.
- 20 May – EU, Finland, Italy provide €17 million to East Jerusalem Hospitals
As part of the Team Europe approach, the European Union, Finland, and Italy are making a contribution of €17 million to the Palestinian Authority, supporting the payment of medical referrals to East Jerusalem Hospitals. This contribution is funded by the EU (€13 million) and the Government of Italy (€1 million). The contribution of €3 million by the Government of Finland is planned for June 2020.
- 19 May – EUPOL COPPS donates €60,000 worth of protective equipment and sanitizers to PCP
In order to support the Palestinian Civil Police (PCP) and keep police officers and the general public safe in the ongoing fight against Covid-19, EUPOL COPPS has made a donation of EUR 60,000 worth of personal protective equipment and hand sanitizers. It is expected that it will cover the needs of the PCP for the next three months. The donated equipment entails 45,000 daily use face masks, 5,000 N95 face masks, 500 protective eye goggles, 200 full-face 3M masks, 1,000 hooded protective overalls and 3,000 500ml bottles of hand sanitizer.
- 19 May – Germany, Switzerland support Palestinian local authorities in their fight against coronavirus
Germany and Switzerland support the Ministry of Local Government and the Association of Palestinian Local Authorities by supplying the local authorities with gear and material to protect their front-line workers in performing their duties during the coronavirus pandemic.
- 18 May – Germany donates 700,000 euros to an East Jerusalem hospital
Germany has recently provided 700,000 euros in donation for the Augusta Victoria Hospital in its fight against the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus.
- 18 May – India provides $2 million to UNRWA for the welfare of Palestinian refugees
The Government of India has contributed $2 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of the Agency’s core programs and services, including education, health care, relief and social services, according to a press release.
- 08 May – UNRWA Launches New Coronavirus US$ 93.4 Million Emergency Appeal for Palestine Refugees
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is urgently seeking US$ 93.4 million for its response to COVID-19 in the areas of health care, sanitation and hygiene and education over the next three months. The required amount is an update from the Agency’s earlier appeal, with a large portion of the funding aimed at covering cash and food assistance to this particularly vulnerable population, as the socio-economic consequences of the public health crisis continue to weigh heavily on households.
- 07 May – ActionAid Palestine to promote women’s economic empowerment in H2 during COVID-19
Through project “Valiance ‘Basala’-Empowering women in H2”, the Israeli occupied part of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, funded by Australian Government – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade(DFAT), ActionAid Palestine supported 22 Palestinian economic enterprises, including income generating agricultural and commercial enterprises, aiming to economically strengthen the resilience of women and their families and promote their presence in their local communities. Those enterprises will be a source of income that will enable women to provide their families under the deterioration of economic conditions of their families and exacerbation of their suffering due to full lockdown resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19 and loss of livelihoods.
- 05 May – Palestine receives Turkish aid to stem coronavirus
The Palestinian Health Ministry on Tuesday received a medical aid shipment from Turkey to help in the fight against coronavirus. Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said the Turkish medical aid will be distributed to hospitals and health centers in the Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip.
- 05 May – EU provides €38 million to support Palestine’s payment of salaries and pensions
The European Union provided Tuesday €38 million contribution to the April salaries and pensions of around 43,000 of the Palestinian civil servants in the West Bank.
“This €38 million is part of a €71 million assistance package that we announced few weeks ago to respond to the coronavirus pandemic in Palestine. Our contribution today to the payment of salaries and pensions for Palestinian civil servants is yet further evidence of our political will and commitment,” said EU Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff.
- 02 May – King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, UNRWA sign $1 million COVID-19 aid
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) yesterday signed a $1 million contribution in support of the Agency’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the Gaza Strip. This funding will provide life-saving medical devices, equipment and protective supplies to Palestine refugees in Gaza.
- 28 April – World Bank provides $63 million for advancing sustainability in Palestinian energy sector
The World Bank approved a $14 million grant as part of a multiphase Advancing Sustainability in Performance, Infrastructure, and Reliability of Energy Sector (ASPIRE) program to improve operational and financial performance of the Palestinian electricity institutions and diversification of energy sources. The program will benefit from an additional $49 million grant from donor partners, members of the Partnership for Infrastructure Development Multi-Donor Trust Fund (PID MDTF): Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, France, Finland, Sweden, Croatia, Portugal, United Kingdom and Australia.
- 23 April – Turkey to send medical, financial aid to Palestine
Turkey has accepted Palestine’s call for medical and financial assistance in the fight against the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 test kits, masks, special clothing and other basic equipment will be provided to the Health Ministry of Palestine.
- 23 April – NGO responds to COVID-19 case in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon
The American New East Refugee Aid (Anera), an NGO, started multi-faceted response to COVID-19 in Wavel camp for Palestinian refugees in Baalbek, Lebanon, after a Palestinian refugee who lives near the camp, tested positive for the virus today. She traveled in and out of the camp often, interacting with friends and family there. In response, Anera is going to deliver locally-made face masks to residents, volunteers and health workers in the camp, is constructing a sterilization gate to be placed at the entrance to the camp, and is working to provided food parcels to some 700 families there. 10 young students from Anera’s vocational sewing course at the Regeneration and Development Association, its local partner in the Bekaa Valley, produced 3,000 protective masks, which adhere to the Lebanese Ministry of Health safety guidelines to be distributed to camp residents and health workers.
In addition, 15 youths who graduated from Anera’s vocational carpentry class are constructing a sterilization gate for the entrance to Wavel camp to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Volunteers from inside the camp will operate the gate and spray the camp interior. Anera will also begin working with Najdeh Association to bring together 20 young people to assemble food packages for 700 families in the camp.
- 22 April – Final Communique Extraordinary Videoconference of the OIC Executive Committee at the Level of Foreign Ministers on the Consequences of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic and Joint Response
15. The Meeting notes the need to pay special attention to the situation in Palestine and calls upon the international community to put pressure on the Occupying power to lift any restrictions on the entry of medical and food items to enable the Palestinians to face this pandemic, also calls upon the Member States to extend support to the people of Palestine with a view to enhancing their capacity to deal with this pandemic.
16. The Meeting recalls the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan that the UNRWA has launched in order to better address the needs of the Palestine refugees and calls upon OIC Member States and the international community to channel further support to the Plan.
- 22 April – Health Ministry receives oxygen concentrators from UNICEF, DFID
The Health Ministry received today oxygen concentrator devices from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the British Development Agency (DFID). These devices will be distributed to the quarantine centers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, expressing gratitude to UNICEF and the DFID. 15 more devices will be received in the upcoming weeks.
- 20 April – Health ministry receives medical aid from China
Ministry of Health received a package of medical assistance provided by the Chinese government to help confront the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 in the country. The package includes clothes, goggles, and face masks used by medical teams dealing with suspected cases of the virus, in addition to laboratory materials used for detecting the virus. The Chinese support is not only ed to aid but also health teams in Palestine and China exchange expertise through periodic video conferences.
- 14 April – EU, Austria, Spain provide €14.5 million for vulnerable Palestinian families in times of corona crisis
The European Union has contributed €12.5 million, and Austria and Spain €1 million each to this payment that will benefit around 114,000 vulnerable Palestinian families.
The EU supports the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Ministry of Social Development and its Cash Transfer Programme, which is responsible for the provision of basic social protection to the most vulnerable families in the West Bank and Gaza. The social allowances are paid on a quarterly basis to some 105,000 vulnerable families. In this first payment of 2020, 9,000 families from Gaza were added to the existing list. In total, the joint support will help relieve the difficult living conditions of some 114,000 vulnerable families. The European contribution will complement the funding of the PA by covering the full social allowances of 75,539 families, with 80% of them living in the Gaza Strip.
The cash transfers will not only alleviate pressure on poor families but also inject additional money into the local economy, including for the benefit of local businesses.
- 14 April – Health ministry receives package of assistance from the Chinese Alibaba company
The Palestinian Ministry of Health received a package of assistance provided by the Chinese Alibaba company in cooperation with Jack Ma, the company co-founder, which contains about 50,000 coronavirus test kits, according to a press release.
- 10 April – EU grants €71M in aid to Palestine to fight COVID-19
The EU said in a statement that the pledge was made during a meeting between its Jerusalem representative Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff and Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.
The package reportedly includes around 10 million euros for six hospitals in East Jerusalem, 40 million euros for Palestinian Authority officials and six million euros for Palestinian businesses. In addition, five million euros have been allocated to aid local communities and around seven million euros have been designated for NGOs working in the area.
- 8 April – UK Supports Palestinian effort to combat coronavirus
As part of efforts to tackle the coronavirus outbreak around the world, the UK announced two support packages to purchase medical supplies for health systems in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The contribution, worth $1m, is being used to purchase essential medical supplies for the treatment of critical care patients. It is also supplying material to increase Palestinian COVID-19 laboratory testing capacity. The procurement was by UNICEF and the WHO.
“Some are pushing for the economic life to be brought back to normal, but our priority is to protect people’s lives as the risk of the pandemic is continuing. Therefore, the measures taken so far will continue as they are because we want a balanced relationship between health and the economy” – Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.
- 02 June – With German, EU support: EPCGF launches new loan guarantee initiative to mitigate economic impact of COVID-19
The European-Palestinian Credit Guarantee Foundation (EPCGF) launched a new initiative to improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises in the wake of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. The special COVID-19 initiative is supported by an ongoing project with funding from Germany through its development bank KfW and is a part of the Team Europe response. The European Union has furthermore committed additional new funding to scale-up this initiative in the next months. Based on the market demand EPCGF would be also considering a further contribution of its own capital for this initiative.
- 01 June – World Bank: Palestinian economy struggles as Coronavirus inflicts losses
An abrupt decline in economic activities and pressure on the Palestinian Authority’s finances have placed Palestinian livelihoods at high risks, as the impact of the Coronavirus continues to hit the economy hard. After growth of a mere 1% in 2019, the economy is projected to contract by at least 7.6% in 2020, the World Bank said.
- 05 May – Gaza grinds to a halt
With unemployment on the rise, many families in Gaza are dependent on aid distributed by charities during Ramadan. Unemployment was already a major problem before the first cases of the new coronavirus were confirmed in Gaza during March. The official unemployment rate in Gaza was 43 percent during the last few months of 2019. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, that meant more than 208,000 people were without work. A further 130,000 have now been made jobless since the pandemic broke out, according to Gaza’s economy ministry. The ministry has estimated that 25,000 people working in hotels, restaurants and coffee shops have been laid off since the lockdown began.
- 05 May – Sharp decrease in Industrial Production Index in Palestine during March
The overall Industrial Production Index (IPI) sharply decreased in Palestine by 24.60% during March compared to February, in light of COVID-19 (corona virus) pandemic.
- 25 April – Losses about $2.5 billion to Palestinian economy due to coronavirus
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics as result of this lockdown and expectation that it will continue for a while, the results indicate that it is expected for the GDP for 2020 to decline by 14% compared to 2019. Hence, the losses of the gross economy (GDP) are estimated to be around $2.5 billion compared to the status quo for 2020, resulting from the decline of the public and private gross consumption, which reached about $1.3 billion, in addition to the decline of the investment of about $2.1 billion and the decline of imports of about $1 billion.
- 23 April – Economic Forecasts for the Year 2020, in Light of the Current Coronavirus Pandemic
The Palestinian economy will incur losses of about USD 2.5 billion in case the coronavirus pandemic lasts for three months, in addition to the economy’s attempt of recovery to its status before the crisis. Thus, it is predicted that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will decline with a percentage of 14% in 2020 compared to 2019.
- 21 April – Economy Minister, AFD conclude $1 million agreement to support small, micro enterprises
National Economy Minister Khaled al-Osaily and the French Development Agency (AFD) concluded a $1 million agreement to support small and micro enterprises.
- 20 April – PM Shtayyeh announces easing in economic measures
The government has decided to ease some economic measures in the Palestinian territories while preserving public safety and tightening health measures. Medical and preventive measures will continue to be strictly provided, while resuming some businesses and economic facilities in different districts on certain days and during set hours.
- Manufacturing will be allowed to resume in all governorates for export purposes at a rate of 50% of the staff provided that the health and safety conditions are observed. Mosques, churches, and places of gathering will remain closed.
- Some small shops, businesses and professions will be allowed to resume on specific days in defined districts.
- Nurseries, schools, universities and institutes will remain closed and make up programs will be available when necessary, and that the high school Tawjihi exam will be held on May 30 as planned but with certain arrangements.
- Daily movement of workers in Israel between their workplaces inside Israel and their homes is prohibited until further notice, as 79 percent of the corona cases in Palestine were from the workers and people who interacted with them. Penalties will be imposed on workers violating the emergency instructions until their transit is arranged with Israel according to health measure that protect their safety and the safety of their communities. At the same time that work in the illegal Israeli settlements is completely prohibited.
- Banking and the financial sector: the stock market will reopen as of May 03 and banks in some cities will reopen at reduced staff while in others, such as Ramallah and Bethlehem, there will be no change on their current operation.
- No change is made to the work in the ministries and public institutions, where employees are to continue to work from their governorates and cities.
- People will be allowed to move during the month of Ramadan between 10:00 am to 7:30 pm in all governorates, and movement will be strictly prohibited in all governorates after 7:30 pm in an effort to restrict visits and social gathering for families, a Ramadan tradition.
- 13 April – Economy to struggle following coronavirus crisis, but recovery likely
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced that the Palestinian economy will suffer from stagnation and recession following the coronavirus crisis, but recovery is likely within 12 months. Shtayyeh announced that the novel coronavirus crisis would plunge the global economy into stagnation and recession, and cause Palestinian economic growth rates to largely decline. He commented on the government’s efforts to bring down the budget deficit, which has increased to USD $1.4 billion.
“We have started to perform under an austerity emergency budget, with a deficit of $1.4 billion. We will attempt to cover some of the budget deficit using various means, whether by reducing expenditures, applying for bank loans, or requesting financial aid from regular donor countries,” he elaborated. “We have also approached the Israeli side with a request to resolve some tax settlement issues related to the withheld tax revenues,” he added.
Nevertheless, Shtayyeh seemed optimistic when he said that the Palestinian economy would be able to recover within a maximum period of 12 months.
He added that the government set up an initial $300 million fund as part of an economic recovery plan for micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises which are the most affected by the coronavirus crisis with support from Arab and Islamic funds.
He assured Palestinian citizens about the flow of goods, foodstuff and agricultural products across border crossings, from Israel and between the various Palestinian districts.
(Photo credit: WAFA)