Nearly every country in the world has mobilized to bring home its citizens who were stranded abroad due to Coronavirus border closures. But who is responsible for Palestinians in this situation?
Thousands of Palestinians were abroad in March when Jordan suddenly closed the Allenby Bridge Border Crossing in response to the pandemic. This is Palestinians’ only gateway in and out of the West Bank, as Israel generally prohibits them from flying through its airports. Thus, people who were abroad have not been able to return home to the West Bank, while others who live abroad and were visiting the West Bank at the time, have been unable to leave.
Dozens of people who are desperate to get home have contacted HaMoked, and we are trying to help as many of them as we can. This week, HaMoked filed a petition on behalf of Fares and Yulia Omari, who in early March left four young children with their grandparents in Ramallah and traveled to Ukraine for a week-long trip. The couple has been stranded there, separated from their children, ever since.
Beyond the individual assistance, we are drafting a principled intervention demanding that Israel allow every Palestinian who needs to return home to fly via its international airports, at least as long as the border with Jordan is closed. Israel is the occupying power in the West Bank and therefore bears legal responsibility for the welfare of the population there.
This is just one tangible example of how the occupation and Israel’s discriminatory, neglectful treatment compound the difficulties caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. We are doing everything we can to assist these people. Please help us by making a donation to HaMoked.
Executive Director of HaMoked