Builders Seek Permits for 10,000 Additional Palestinian Workers

Association of Contractors and Builders says sector is in need of more laborers as number of migrant workers falls.

The Association of Contractors and Builders demanded Tuesday that the number of Palestinian construction workers who have permits to work in Israel be increased by 10,000.

According to the association, 5,000 are urgently needed. The 10,000 would be in addition to the 14,200 Palestinian workers currently employed in the sector.

The president of the association, Nisim Bublil, raised the demand Tuesday during a tour of construction sites in Jersulem with the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Yossi Mishlav.

The Jerusalem construction sites frequently employ Palestinian laborers.

"The construction industry craves for workers in order to meet project deadlines," said Bublil.

He also said that the number of migrant construction workers, who are mainly Romanian and Chinese, has shrunk massively in recent years to 8,000 only.

Bublil said that a significant effort has been made to recruit Israeli workers, but these were mostly employed as construction managers and not in manual labor.

Mishlav said during the tour that he favors the initiative to increase the number of Palestinian construction workers in principle, but their recruitment must be subject to individual security checks.