FILE photo shows Palestinian workers waiting to pass through an Israeli checkpoint.

Israel opens wastewater tunnels to smuggle Palestinian workers into West Bank to avoid coronavirus test

QALQILIA, Thursday, April 9, 2020 (WAFA) — Despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Israel, with over 9,500 cases and nearly 80 deaths reported so far, Israeli occupation forces opened today several wastewater tunnels near the West Bank city of Qalqilia to smuggle Palestinian workers in Israel back into the West Bank.

Governor of Qalqilia, Rafi’ Rawajbeh, said the opening of the wastewater tunnels was an attempt by Israel to undermine the efforts of the Palestinian government to contain the coronavirus pandemic in Palestine, as most of the 263 cases confirmed in Palestine so far came from Israel, which occupies the West Bank.

He said the Palestinian security forces, in response, deployed near the tunnel openings on the Palestinian side of the Israeli segregation barrier in Qalqilia Governorate to ban the smuggling of workers and to refer workers returning back from Israel to the Ministry of Health to undergo the coronavirus test before they can return home.

Israel, which occupies the West Bank since 1967, has been an epicenter of the novel disease. All Palestinians returning from Israel over the past four weeks were asked to undergo the coronavirus tests administered by the Ministry of Health in its effort to prevent an outbreak in the West Bank.

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