Plans to grant 30,000 additional work permits to Palestinians from the West Bank meant to ease economic hardship which Israel fears could lead to terrorism.
Israel plans to increase the number of entry permits it grants to Palestinian workers, Palestinian and Israeli sources said on Monday, in a drive to ease economic hardship that has contributed to a wave of Palestinian attacks.
Publicly, the Israeli government has accused Palestinian leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas and Islamist groups, of inciting violence. But Israeli security officials have also cited desperation among young Palestinians who see a bleak economic future for the West Bank.
A Defense Ministry official confirmed a report in Israeli media on Monday which said Israel would increase the number of work permits given to Palestinians by 30,000. “A few plans are being looked at,” a second Israeli official said.
About 55,000 Palestinians currently have permits to work in Israel, mostly in construction and agriculture, according to the Bank of Israel. They must clear Israeli security checks before the documents are issued.
An additional 30,000 undocumented Palestinian labourers also enter Israel each day. The new plan would raise the number of Palestinian workers vetted by Israeli security officials.
Police say most of the near-daily Palestinian attacks since October, which have included stabbings, shootings and vehicular attacks, have been carried out by Palestinians who cross into Israel without permits from the West Bank.
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