Police arrest 39 Palestinians working in Israel’s Eilat

Published September 11th, 2015 - 04:00 GMT

Israeli police and border forces rounded up 39 Palestinian workers near the southern Israel resort city of Eilat on Thursday, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Hebrew language media reported that the 39 detained Palestinian workers were all taken to Israeli interrogation centers for questioning.

An Israeli police spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

The detained workers were from the Hebron district in the southern West Bank, according to reports in Hebrew media.

Palestinians from the occupied West Bank are banned from working in Eilat, though tens of thousands have been given permits to work in other Israeli cities. All work permits Israel issues for Palestinian workers include the phrase “allowed to enter Israel excluding Eilat."

Palestinians who seek to work in Israel need a special work permit usually granted by the Israeli Civil Administration in coordination with the Israeli Ministry of Labor.

In June Israel agreed to allow 1,500 Jordanian laborers to work in Eilat.

Foreign workers make up around 9 percent of the workforce inside Israel, Israeli news source Jerusalem Post reported earlier this year.

Immigration of a foreign workforce into Israel increased primarily during both the First and Second Intifadas, as Israeli employers sought to replace Palestinian workers who were unable to come to work to due severe Israeli restrictions on movement, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.
 
Despite this, the Bank of Israel reported in March that the number of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank working in Israel — legally and illegally — doubled in the past four years, often displacing foreign workers.
 
Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers are forced to seek a living by working in Israel as the growth of an independent Palestinian economy has been stifled in the West Bank under the ongoing Israeli military occupation, according to Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem.

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