QUARANTINE - DAY 31 - 5th April 2020
Today is a particularly poignant day in Bethlehem as it is Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter Sunday, when Jesus entered Jerusalem and palms were placed in his path before his crucifixion on Good Friday.
Most Palestinians living in Bethlehem did not have permission to visit Jerusalem before the quarantine, so entering Jerusalem has always been a distant dream for them. But at Easter many Christians of Bethlehem were given permission to go to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem to celebrate at this time. Now there is complete restriction of movement with the pandemic across the globe, no one can travel to Jerusalem of course and the doors of churches are closed, with Christians instead celebrating this day in their houses - attending virtual services over the internet.
Today a man in Dheisheh camp explains his thoughts on the workers return:
The crazy British leaving their homes to lie in the sun. It's like a scene from a Monty Python film! Everyone should stay in their homes across the world now to protect others. We have a dusty wind here. I wish it would rain so that it would rouse nature and purify the air.
We have more cases here now - 234 cases in Palestine - and people are worried about the situation that is developing here. The workers who are being sent back from Israel because of the Jewish holidays are bringing the virus. There will be tens of thousands returning on Thursday. It is a vicious action from the Israelis. The Palestinian authority asked the Israelis to put Palestinian workers in buses to the checkpoint. From there they will collect them and transfer them to other buses hired by Palestinians, and then direct them to some isolation centres. There were calls from mosques asking the workers to stay away from their families no matter how hard that might be, and isolate themselves for 14 days, as wives and children of the workers are among those being infected.
My days are empty now. I have nothing to do. Today I made tomato salad - I found a cucumber in the fridge which was in a strange shape so I wanted to do something with it..
I can walk to the local shop to do food shopping. The authorities try to enforce social distancing "تباعد اجتماعي " here but people don't always listen.