West Bank–Israel Wall During COVID-19: Migrant Labour Upends Border Function

The Case of Construction Labour

  • walid mousa habbas Hebrew University of Jerusalem


The function of the West Bank–Israeli separation barrier, designed to segregate Palestinians away from Israeli territory, was subverted by the COVID-19 crisis. For the first time, the barrier locked West Bank Palestinians inside Israel. For a two-month period, construction workers from the West Bank were sequestered at work sites in Israel to reduce movement of people between the territories while also minimizing economic losses. This turn of events illustrates the ad hoc economic interests underlying Israeli security policy toward the West Bank.