Coronavirus spares Gaza, but travel restrictions don’t


Hamas initially instituted other restrictions on Gaza. But it later lifted a lot of them, allowing residents to follow important parts of their daily routine. They flock to the beaches, train in gyms, eat in restaurants, pray in mosques, and shop in markets, among other activities.

“We are happy that we did not have to face the death that we have heard about in other countries,” said Moath Abed, 29, an unemployed nurse living in Gaza.

Israeli authorities have allowed Palestinians in need of emergency and life-saving medical care to use the Erez Crossing – the only crosswalk between Israel and Gaza.

But they have tightened restrictions on movement for others in the territory, creating problems for people like Munir Sabitan, 53, a resident of Gaza City who works in the kitchen facility.

Mr. Sabitan used to visit his wife and three children, who are Arab citizens of Israel, with a business license. In March, however, Israel froze those permits as the virus began to spread through its communities.

Now Mr Sabitan fears he will miss his daughter’s wedding in the desert region of the Negev if Israel does not grant him permission to cross the border soon.

“The wedding has been postponed twice, but it won’t be anymore,” he said, noting that the new date was August 17. “I feel drained of this experience. My daughter calls every day and I tell her I’m still waiting for permission.


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