Eid sacrifices drop in West Bank, with a spike in coronavirus cases
BETHLEHEM (WEST BANK) – Slaughterhouses were usually crowded with Palestinian Muslims buying sheep for the annual Eid al-Adha, which is also called “feast of sacrifice”. However, it was nearly empty this week with coronavirus curbs restrictions in the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has enforced a partial lockdown over areas under its control to fight an increase in the number of new cases.
Livestock merchant Daoud Ebayat asked at a hillside market in Bethlehem, “Who exactly can afford (sheep) to sacrifice? People are unable to cover expenses for their children, there’s no work.”
According to ministry data, around 115,000 sheep and ten thousand calves were sold during the festival in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem last year.
Tareq Abu Laban, an official at the Palestinian agriculture ministry, adding that final figures were not available yet. He said, “There will be a decrease, some are saying, of about 20% or more.”
In Bethlehem, several customers haggled with merchants. Ebayat says they used to sell for around 2,000 shekels ($588) each. The average monthly income in the West Bank is $350.
Eyad Daraghmeh, who runs a slaughterhouse in Al-Bireh, says, “These sheds used to be full of livestock and sacrifices, at least 6,000 available for slaughter.”
Fawzat Rayyan, a livestock breeder in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, said in a typical year he would have sold 120 animals by this time. He said, “This year it is hardly half that number … the coronavirus is weighing down on us.”
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.