Tens of thousands of Palestinians seeking work cross illegally into Israel

Only 8,000 Palestinians have been approved to work in Israel; Far-right ministers firm on refusing to allow West Bank Palestinians to work in Israel, leaving them desperate and vulnerable to recruitment by Hamas; IDF, Shin Bet warn outbreak of violence could derail Israel's war efforts 

Palestinians climb over West Bank border wall into Israel

Some 40,000 Palestinians have entered Israel illegally from the West Bank, defense officials said, most believed to be looking for work. After the October 7 massacre, Israel revoked all permits for West Bank Palestinians to work inside Israel.
IDF officials said that, since so many Palestinians cross over the border fence, they should be allowed in through the official border crossings, where they would be monitored.
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שוהים בלתי חוקיים עוברים את חומת ההפרדה בקו התפר במזרח לכיש סמוך לישוב אליאב
שוהים בלתי חוקיים עוברים את חומת ההפרדה בקו התפר במזרח לכיש סמוך לישוב אליאב
Palestinian job seekers arrested after crossing over the West Bank border wall
Since the massacre, only 8,000 West Bank Palestinian residents were allowed to work in Israel, in what are considered to be critical jobs for Israel's economy, but in the settlements more than 10,000 are still employed, having received the approval of security officials and local regional councils.
The decision to block the workers from returning to their jobs in Israel has been detrimental to the population on both sides of the border. Israel's construction and agriculture industries have suffered greatly from the lack of working hands and over 100,000 Palestinians who had been employed in Israel have remained out of work and without an income, opening the way for terror groups who use their predicament to enlist more people to their cause.
Hamas with the guidance of Iran offers payment to unemployed and desperate residents of the West Bank for acts of terror against IDF forces and civilians there.
Far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has brought to the cabinet for approval further measures to weaken the Palestinian Authority after it promoted proceedings against Israel in the international courts. Security officials warned ministers of the results of such measures, claiming they would present a security risk first and foremost for West Bank settlers and could require the IDF to move forces away from the war in Gaza, to respond to increased violence there. This would significantly disrupt efforts to eliminate Hamas in Gaza and would adversely affect Israel's war against Hezbollah and Iran, they said.
The officials offered an alternative plan devised along with the Coordinator for Government Affairs in the Territories (COGAT) and the Shin Bet, for a gradual return of Palestinian workers to Israel. Their plan is for smaller numbers of workers to be approved, after more strict evaluation and greater supervision. "We have the technological means in the border crossings for a tight control over workers crossing into and returning back from Israel," they said.
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Israeli forces stand next to the West Bank border wall
But Smotrich remains firm in his refusal to allow any change to the decisions made in the early days of the war and, as a result of his and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir's efforts, the matter has not been brought to the cabinet for consideration.
Officials in the IDF and security agencies said they aere aware of the political climate and that the ministers would resist any change, fearing opposition from their constituents, but insist that weakening the PA only bolsters Hamas in the West Bank and as the Israeli economy continues to suffer as well, the cabinet must provide a solution.
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First published: 09:40, 07.08.24
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