Palestinians stranded by coronavirus seek way home

Thousands of Palestinians stranded around the world by the coronavirus are still seeking a way home, months after countries closed their borders and grounded flights in the face of the pandemic. Aseel Bader touched down in Tuscany in January, after winning a scholarship for a master’s programme at the University of Florence. Just weeks later Italy imposed a nationwide lockdown as the coronavirus spread rapidly, prompting Bader to look for a way back to Hebron in the occupied West Bank. “I tried to book to come to Palestine, but the response was to stay where you are because it’s safer,” the 26-year-old said. Bader said staff at the Palestinian embassy in Rome had been very responsive, “but their response isn’t helpful” as they have no information on when she can travel. The Palestinian Authority says 6,000 people want to come home, but the logistics are incredibly complicated. “Maybe we are the only government in the world that can’t bring back its own students” and others stranded, prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said Tuesday. “Why? Because we don’t have an airport, we don’t have planes, we don’t control our borders. This has been a real pain for us,” he said.

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