Police Launch Crackdown on Palestinians Working Illegally in Israel

Over 250 Palestinians without permits arrested in Israel this week, along with 12 people who helped transport them and 15 people who employed them.

Two Border Policemen on duty in Jaffa, March 10, 2016.
Ofer Vaknin

Police have been making increased efforts in recent days to locate Palestinians who are in Israel illegally. On Thursday alone, the police arrested over 250 Palestinians working in Israel without permits, along with 12 people suspected of transporting them and 15 people who employed them.

Police units have been raiding building sites and other workplaces throughout the country where Palestinians are frequently employed, as well as places where they have been known to stay.

The move comes after two terror attacks this week, in Petah Tikva and Jaffa, that were perpetrated by Palestinians in Israel illegally. An American citizen, Taylor Force, was killed and 10 others wounded in the Jaffa attack on Tuesday.

Senior police officials have told officers that any time a Palestinian without a work permit is arrested, his employer must also be detained for questioning and an investigation should be opened into the employer.

But police sources said their efforts are being hampered by the courts, which often impose very light sentences on both the Palestinians and their employers, with the result that such arrest operations have no deterrent effect.

Every year, police open thousands of cases against Palestinians working without the necessary permits. Whenever a Palestinian meets the criteria for constituting a danger, as opposed to merely trying to earn a living, he is indicted.

“It’s important to stress that because the courts are lenient with the [Palestinians] themselves, except in the case of repeat offenders, the police devote most of their legal effort to those who transport, house or employ them,” the force said in a statement.

“Therefore, we take stringent administrative steps, including shutting down building sites, restaurants, etc. The police will continue to work to locate [those in Israel illegally] and bring the full force of the law to bear on those who help them by employing, transporting or housing them in violation of the law, including by filing indictments and impounding their cars.”