Days Of Palestine
The Israeli occupation army announced on Tuesday that the Allenby (Karama) border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan would be shut to passengers in both directions until further notice because of the growing spread of coronavirus in the Middle East.
The announcement came one day after Palestinian Authority (PA) premier Mohammad Shtayyeh suggested that the Palestinians may be compelled to ask Israel to close down Allenby.
However, the Israeli army’s coordinator of government activities in the occupied territories stated that “local residents,” in reference to Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem who are currently in Jordan, would be permitted to return to their homes if they coordinate with the competent authorities.
The coordinator also said that Jordanians in Palestinian areas would be allowed to go back to Jordan if they make arrangements with the competent authorities.
As for movement of goods between Jordan and the occupied Palestinian territories, all commercial crossings will remain open, according to the coordinator.
In order to travel beyond the West Bank and Israel, an overwhelming majority of Palestinians in the West Bank have to cross through Allenby. Thousands of Palestinians usually pass through it daily, but data from the PA general administration of crossings and borders has shown that numbers have recently declined.
29 people in the West Bank, mostly in Bethlehem, have now been diagnosed with the virus.
Shortly after Palestinian health authorities confirmed the first cases of coronavirus in the West Bank last Thursday, PA President Mahmoud Abbas declared a state of emergency for 30 days.
Premier Shtayyeh has since announced the closure of schools and universities, the cancellation of all hotel reservations and conferences, the shuttering of tourist and religious sites, the banning of public gatherings and rallies, and other measures.