The Health Ministry will begin testing over 150,000 Palestinians living in east Jerusalem beyond the separation barrier for the coronavirus. The testing efforts comes as a response to a petition filed to the High Court of Justice by Adalah, the Israeli Arab Minority Legal Center, on April 8, demanding that 150,000 residents be tested. The petition was filed on behalf of a number of organizations located in Shuafat and Kafr Akab.
The petition claimed that residents living beyond the separation barrier have limited access to the testing availability, and that despite this aren't receiving help from the Palestinian Authority, as they are still residents of Jerusalem.
It also emphasized that these neighborhoods have very dense populations and infrastructure is very poor, which gives the residents an increased risk of the coronavirus rapidly spreading.
Numerous alternatives for the residents meeting certain criteria in these locations exist, according to the State Attorney's Office which spoke on behalf of the Health Ministry. Additionally, as of April 14, three test stations operated under Clalit will open in Shuafat, Kafr Akab and Silwan.
"The step that the Health Ministry took was important, but there is concern that it is not enough," the Adalah attorneys said in response.