Israel After Coronavirus: One Crisis, One State – and That Includes the Palestinians

When the coronavirus pandemic first erupted, something happened that initially seemed to be marginal and failed to attract any particular attention: Israel announced that it would permit large numbers of Palestinian laborers from the territories to remain overnight within Israel proper, so they could continue to work at their jobs in the country.

Boom. Massive numbers of Palestinian terrorists would be allowed to sleep overnight in Israel – and in the middle of an epidemic, no less? Where is the Shin Bet security service when you need it? Where are the Israel Police and other security agencies? Who will protect us from these masses of ticking, human time bombs who will be sleeping beneath our children’s bedrooms and our own?

– corona-stats
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We’ve had a deathly fear of these people for two decades. For 20 years, we’ve been warned about them. Since the second intifada, we haven’t allowed them to remain in Israel overnight. But all of a sudden, during the coronavirus pandemic, the threat is gone, as if it had never been an issue, along with the ban on overnight stays.

All of a sudden, the people doing all the construction in this country are also allowed to sleep here. It’s happened, and the sky hasn’t fallen. But you can still count on Israel, of course: When the pandemic is over, the Palestinians building this country will probably once again have to navigate between all the checkpoints in the middle of the night.

Palestinians en route to work in Israel, last month. Who will protect us from these masses of ticking, human time bombs?Emil Salman

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The virus has spread in recent weeks in the area between the River Jordan and the sea, and Israel and the Palestinian Authority have come together under a heavy cloak of fear and distress. This has been the quietest time for years in the region.

Israel’s borders, urban centers and villages, and the refugee camps and cities of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – all have been calm to an extent not seen here in a long while. An invisible hand has held its fire, its incendiary balloons and rockets, as well as its detentions and assassinations. During the pandemic there has been a pause in hostilities, one that still continues. This will probably pass as if it never was – but maybe not.