‘A Solution’ – Israel Freezes Work Permits for 80,000 West Bank Workers 

Palestinian workers in Israel do not have their rights as workers protected and are vulnerable to exploitation by employers. (Photo: via B'tselem)

Israel does not allow Palestinian workers to pass through Israeli checkpoints except after obtaining permits from the Israeli military.

Israeli authorities have begun freezing work permits for around 80,000 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank, according to Israeli media.

“The Israeli Civil Administration, which is a unit in the Ministry of Defense, has begun freezing nearly 80,000 work permits for Palestinian workers from the West Bank,” the Israeli public broadcaster is cited as saying on Thursday by the Anadolu news agency.

Since the start of Tel Aviv’s genocidal assault on Gaza on October 7 last year, Israel has prevented workers from the West Bank from accessing the Israeli labor market.

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The Jerusalem Post reported that the Civil Administration “convened on Thursday for a discussion on the policies and procedures for bringing Palestinian workers into the industrial and settlement areas of the West Bank.”

It was a follow-up to a January meeting, which “was aimed at examining whether any changes had been made since the previous discussion.” Council heads had then claimed, “they are obligated to admit workers who have been granted approval their areas.”

The paper said that it was revealed last month that the Civil Administration “continued to issue tens of thousands of employment permits to workers in the West Bank.” In addition,  the department had already begun renewing the work permits of those granted before October 7.

‘Clear Rules’

The Civil Administration “was established by the military and is the body responsible for implementing civilian and security policies,” the paper said, citing its website. The administration serves “as the executive arm “of the Israeli military leadership in the West Bank area.

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The paper quoted the Head of the Civil Coordination Branch, Lt. Col. Moran Hadad, who announced freezing employment licenses at the meeting, as saying: “This means that when a police officer stops a worker and sees that his license is not valid, he can arrest him.”

“This issue of freezing the licenses is supposed to provide a solution,” he reportedly continued. “There are clear rules for employers, which include a pickup point from the crossing to the work area. If a worker leaves the approved area, he is committing an offense – and the Israel Police will handle him. The process is the same for private employers.”

The paper further cited the Israeli KAN news outlet as saying that the freezing of the work permits will “last until the government decides to lift the lockdown in Palestinian cities and villages in the West Bank.”

Source of Income

Before the war on Gaza, more than 170,000 Palestinians were working in Israel, constituting an important source of income for the Palestinian economy, reported Anadolu.

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Israel does not allow Palestinian workers to pass through Israeli checkpoints except after obtaining permits from the Israeli military.

Previous estimates from the Israeli Ministry of Finance indicate that the absence of Palestinian workers in the construction, agriculture, and industrial sectors resulted in a monthly loss of 3 billion shekels (840 million dollars), according to Anadolu.

Tensions have been running high across the West Bank since October 7, resulting in the deaths of more than 500 Palestinians and the arrests of more than 9,000.

(PC, Anadolu)

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