The article examines the early spread of COVID-19 in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) in light of nationalism and sovereignty. For Palestinians, the spread of COVID-19 has been challenging due to domestic and regional interactions and limited sovereignty, undermining their ability to combat the virus. Israel, often without coordination with the Palestinian Authority (PA), determined who could enter and exit the OPTs, including tens of thousands of Palestinians working in Israel, leading to an increased number of infections in the West Bank. The pandemic awakened Palestinian national sentiment, serving as a reminder of disunity and lack of sovereignty. Despite these challenges, we show that the Palestinian health system unsuccessfully attempted to overcome the crisis. The combination of economic [inter]dependence on Israel, lack of sovereignty, and nationalist resurgence help explain why the Palestinian health sector recorded thousands of cases following the second wave of the virus. COVID-19 has only further revealed how Palestinians could not practically operate independently from Israel.