RAMALLAH, Monday, March 23, 2020 (WAFA) – The Palestinian treasury received $25 million of the tax revenues withheld by Israel to help it combat the outbreak of novel coronavirus disease, government spokesman, Ibrahim Milhem, said today.
He told reporters that Israel recently transferred to the Palestinians $25 million, which is only a fraction of the $300 million Israel has withheld so far from the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. Israel has been withholding money it claims is equivalent to what the PA pays families of prisoners and those slain by Israelis.
Milhem also said in a briefing following the weekly cabinet meeting that tests on 90 suspected coronavirus cases were all negative, and noted that the total infected cases stood at 59, including 16 cases who fully recovered after one recovered case was tested to be infected once again.
He pointed out that Israel handed a Palestinian worker suspected of having contracted the deadly virus to the Palestinian authorities via Beit Sira military checkpoint, west of Ramallah. His coronavirus test result was still pending.
Elaborating on the situation of Palestinian workers in Israel, Milhem reiterated the ban on their employment in Israeli colonial settlements over fears of coronavirus and slammed their inhumane and degrading treatment at workplaces in settlements and inside Israel, particularly the failure to provide them with inappropriate accommodation.
On March 18, Israeli ‘Defense’ Minister Naftali Bennett announced that Palestinian workers who happen to work in “sectors essential to the Israeli economy”, such as agriculture, health and construction, would have to stay in Israel with the employers providing lodging.
Providing more details on the two-week ban on all non-essential movements to curb the spread of the deadly virus, Milhem said all businesses in all districts shall be shuttered from 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM, except for bakeries and pharmacies, as of tonight.