PA bans all Israel products from its markets amid coronavirus fears

Empty streets and closed shops are seen after a curfew was announced by authorities as a measure against coronavirus (COVID-19), in Ramallah, West Bank on 23 March 2020 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Empty streets and closed shops are seen after a curfew was announced by authorities as a measure against coronavirus (COVID-19), in Ramallah, West Bank on 23 March 2020

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is banning the import of all types of Israeli products in its effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The new move, decided yesterday, comes after the Jerusalem Governor Adnan Ghaith warned Arab residents of Jerusalem not to risk purchasing goods or used items from Israelis on the eve of the Jewish Holiday of Passover, as they may be contaminated.

Issued by PA Minister of National Economy Khaled Al-Osaily, the restriction on Israeli imports came amid a spike in coronavirus cases in Palestine.

Today, 15 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the occupied West Bank, raising the total number of known infections in Palestine to 252, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Al-Osaily warned that anyone who violates the new directive will be held legally accountable, reported the Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post.

READ: Israeli settlements are ‘epicentres’ of coronavirus outbreak 

He also added that his ministry, together with the PA security forces, has been working to implement a law that combats settlement products, which was approved by PA President Mahmoud Abbas in 2010.

In the past, the PA banned the entry of settlement products into Palestinian markets, in response to Israel having stopped Palestinian agricultural produce from being sold.

The trade crisis started in September when Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh announced the PA would stop importing beef from Israel, as part of a drive to reduce Palestinian economic dependence on the occupation state.

It had only returned to normal earlier this year after the PA lifted the ban.

(Source / 06.04.2020) 

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