Israel issues 20,000 additional work permits to West Bank Palestinians

Security officials say additional permits stand to improve financial conditions for Palestinians, thereby reducing the incentive for and risk of terror attacks; criteria changed to allow more West Bank residents to apply for permits

Yossi Yehoshua|
Israel on Wednesday increased by 20,000, the number of work permits issued to West Bank Palestinians wishing to work inside Israel, to 120,000.
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  • Security officials said the move, which would improve the financial situation of many more residents of the Palestinian Authority, would reduce the risk of a terror strike.
    3 View gallery
    פלסטינים במעבר גבול
    פלסטינים במעבר גבול
    Palestinian workers at the Kalandia crossing near Jerusalem
    (Photo: Defense Ministry )
    "The more Palestinians with permits there are, the less chances of terror attacks," an official said.
    After the latest wave of attacks, which claimed the lives of 19 Israelis security authorities identified the illegal entry of Palestinians across the partition fence, and through gaps in it, as the primary point of entry of terrorists on their way to strike inside Israel.
    The military allotted nearly one billion shekels and manpower, including reserve units, to close gaps, bolster the fence and prevent workers who do not hold permits, from entering.
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    הלוחמים ששומרים בקו התפר
    הלוחמים ששומרים בקו התפר
    IDF troops deployed along the border fence
    (Photo: Nadav Abas)
    After a review, the civil administration of the West Bank, opted to increase the number of permits and change some of the criteria limiting potential workers, to reduce the incentive of Palestinians to enter Israel illegally, with the approval of Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
    They even named their effort: "From a danger to a worker."
    Palestinians will be given work permits after a security background check, allowing security forces to monitor their movements.
    The plan is said to have three central points:
    • Expanding the employment quota, and the pool of potential Palestinian workers in Israel
    • Implementing sanctions and increased enforcement around the fence, to deter illegal entry
    • Making Israel more accessible through improving the crossing in official border crossings
    Israel has increased the number of Palestinians employed in the construction industry from 74,000 to 80,000, a move hailed by Israeli contractors.
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    Palestinian construction workersr
    Palestinian construction workersr
    Palestinian construction workersr
    (Photo: AFP)
    Permits that were offered until Wednesday, only to married men over the age of 22, are now available for unmarried men aged 27 and older.
    With the approval of the Shin Bet, Security Service, Palestinians who were previously bared from entry because of minor security offences made decades ago, would now be allowed to apply for permits and their records expunged.
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