Lockdown under Occupation: COVID-19 in Palestine

By EA Billy

In early March, the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Palestine. The Palestinian Authority, which provisionally governs much of the West Bank, was quick to act with lockdown measures. A ban was placed on foreign tourists, schools and mosques were closed, and streets became deserted overnight. The measures have so far been successful: as of the 12th May, only 375 cases have been reported, with four deaths.

Palestine has been under military occupation by Israel since 1967. The continuing lockdown and wider fears about the disease have been disastrous for a region that was already experiencing economic devastation long before COVID-19 hit. Problems already apparent before COVID-19, such as restrictions on freedom of movement and an unstable job market, have been worsened by this new reality. The following are some of the stories and experiences of Palestinians under lockdown in the Tulkarm/Qalqilya area, in the northern West Bank.

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