Israel Mulls Increasing Number of Work Permits for Palestinians

Ministers could increase numbers by as much as 40 percent in order to fill manpower shortages in construction and other industries.

Tali Heruti-Sover.
Tali Heruti-Sover
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Border Policeman checking IDs and work permits of Palestinian workers.
Israeli border policeman checking IDs and work permits of Palestinian workers in the West Bank.Credit: AP
Tali Heruti-Sover.
Tali Heruti-Sover

The Israeli cabinet discussed a plan Sunday to sharply increase the number of West Bank Palestinians allowed to work in Israel in 2017, to fill manpower shortages in construction and other sectors.

Under the plan proposed by several ministers, the number of work permits would be increased by as much as 40 percent – from the current 56,000 to up to 78,000.

The biggest beneficiary would be the building industry, whose quota of Palestinian workers would grow to 13,000 (up from 7,000). Manufacturing would get an additional 2,200 permits, bringing the total to 4,450, while the agricultural sector would get an additional 1,250 permanent and 1,250 seasonal workers, to a total of 11,550 under the proposal.

The plan would increase the number of permits even further in the second half of 2017 – mainly in construction – if certain conditions are met.

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