Israel to Permit Entry of Palestinian Workers During Sukkot Holiday

The move to allow workers 'required in certain sectors of the economy' contradicts an earlier decision to completely close off the West Bank for 11 days during the holiday

Palestinian agricultural workers on kibbutz Erez in south-western Israel on August 3, 2017.
Palestinian agricultural workers on kibbutz Erez in south-western Israel on August 3, 2017. Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot decided Thursday evening to permit the entrance of Palestinian workers into Israel during the Sukkot holiday. According to the army spokesman, the workers whose entry will be allowed "are employed in required sectors of the economy."

The spokesman added that the move was coordinated at the recommendation of Israeli security bodies. 

The decision follows an exceptional 11-day closure of the West Bank ordered by Lieberman from the start of the Sukkot holiday through the following Shabbat.

In explaining the need for the extended closure, Lieberman cited the incident last week in which three Israelis — a Border Police officer and two civilian security guards — were shot and killed at the entrance to the Har Adar settlement by a Palestinian who had a permit to work in settlements.