Israel increases work permit quota for Gaza

Palestinians present their documents before crossing the border from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel (AFP)

The National  /  June 17, 2022

An additional 2,000 workers from blockaded Palestinian territory will be allowed to look for jobs in Israel.

Israel will offer another 2,000 entry permits to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, raising the total number of permits for workers from the blockaded enclave to 14,000.

“Following a security assessment, the minister of defence has decided to raise the quota of entry permits for work and commerce in Israel by an additional 2,000,” COGAT, the Israeli Defence Ministry body responsible for civil affairs in the Palestinian territories, said on Thursday.

“All the latest civil measures regarding the Gaza Strip are dependent on the continued maintenance of stable security over time, and their expansion will be considered in light of the situation as evaluated,” it said.

Israel has maintained a strict blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2007, when the Palestinian militant group Hamas seized power.

Only the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt is outside Israeli control and it too has remained largely closed.

The Israeli blockade has severely affected Gaza’s economy, with a recent World Bank report putting the unemployment rate among territory’s more than two million people at about 48 per cent.

The Israeli entry permits allow Gazans to seek work in Israel, where they can find jobs on farms and construction sites that pay far higher wages than they earn in Gaza.

Israel closed the crossing from Gaza for about two weeks in April after rockets were launched from the territory amid rising Israeli-Palestinian tension over Al Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem and increasing Israeli military raids in the occupied West Bank.