Israel to Discuss Raising Number of Palestinian Workers in Israel

Proposal to increase the number of Palestinians workers in Israel comes following a visit by U.S. official Hady Amr last week

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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A construction worker in Tel Aviv, in 2016.
A construction worker in Tel Aviv, in 2016.Credit: Eyal Toueg
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The Israeli government will discuss Sunday a proposal to let 15,000 additional Palestinian construction workers into Israel, which would bring the total number of working permits issued for Palestinian construction workers in Israel to 80,000.

The resolution was submitted by Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Freige and Construction and Housing Minister Zeev Elkin.

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The proposal to increase the number of Palestinians working in Israel stems from both the current shortage of construction workers and the belief that, as the resolution said, “employing Palestinian workers in Israel has diplomatic and security benefits.”

Last week, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr visited Israel and the West Bank to discuss the latter’s financial crisis. Officials who met with him said he voiced the Biden administration’s concern about the situation and urged Israel to take steps to increase the Palestinian Authority’s cash flow.

Amr also tried to promote cooperation between Israel and the PA to ease the humanitarian distress in the Gaza Strip following May’s round of hostilities between Hamas and Israel.

In a statement released after the visit, the State Department said Washington sought “to advance equal measures of freedom, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” and that Amr’s visit “successfully advanced the goal of deepening understanding with Israelis and Palestinians in this regard.” It added that the topics discussed included economic development, energy and water.

Amr also met with Israeli and Palestinian civil society activists to discuss issues including human rights and the status of women.