Education, Better Jobs for Palestinians Key to Israel's Security, General Says

'I think there are advantages, both economic and practical, to employing Palestinian workers,' head of key coordination unit COGAT says, urging more work permits for Palestinians

GAZA CITY, GAZA - MAY 30 :  Palestinian students are seen during the Tawjihi Exam (University Entrance Exam)  at Bashir Rais school in Gaza City on May 30, 2015. The exam takes place simultaneously in all of the Palestinian cities. Ali Hasan / Anadolu Agency
Ali Hasan / Anadolu Agency / AFP

The armys coordinator of government activities in the territories said Thursday that more work permits should be issued to Palestinians from the West Bank allowing them to work in Israel. He said there was a high demand for Palestinian workers in areas from construction to high-tech, and said they were preferable to migrant workers for a number of reasons.

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The money we pay the Palestinians remains in the internal market, said Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai. He was speaking at the Globes Israel Business Conference in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian, unless hes here illegally, returns home to sleep, so the government is likely to increase the number of work permits it issues to Palestinian workers, he added.

Linking the Palestinians economic situation to Israels security, Mordechai said that only 20 percent of the 2.8 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank are classified as educated.

Most of those who finish their studies are exposed to incitement but also to the academic world. So most young Palestinians try to achieve a life similar to that of Israeli young people, rather than that of their counterparts in Jordan or in Lebanon, Mordechai said.

Per-capita gross domestic product in Israel is $40,000. In the Palestinian Authority it is $2,500, and in the Gaza Strip it is less than $1,000. The unemployment rate in the West Bank is 18 percent, and in the Gaza Strip its 60 percent, Mordechai noted.

Continuing, he said there is interest in hiring Palestinian employees in a number of Israeli industries, including construction, agriculture, manufacturing and high-tech.

High-tech is opening up to Palestinians, Mordechai said. Every year there are 2,700 new Palestinian computer science graduates, and 70 percent of them cant find work. Hundreds of Palestinians have entered partnerships with Israeli high-tech companies. We dont have to look for workers abroad, we can employ Palestinians, he continued.

Referring to the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, Mordechai said that although it was mainly Hamas and the Palestinian Authoritys problem, Israel is deeply affected by it.