Middle East Monitor / March 2, 2022
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz announced yesterday that the country plans to increase the number of Palestinian workers allowed into Israel from the Gaza Strip, reported the Times of Israel.
After a years-long ban, Israel began allowing Gazan workers to apply for work inside its cities in October following the 11-day Israeli offensive on Gaza last May.
“We intend to expand our civilian humanitarian policy, including an immediate increase in the quota of Palestinian workers who can enter Israel,” Gantz said during a tour of the southern area with military officials.
The unemployment rate was 49 per cent in the Gaza Strip in 2020, and is expected to rise to 59 per cent, according to World Bank data for 2022, and 75 per cent according to the Ministry of Social Development in the Gaza Strip.
Gaza has been under a strict Israeli siege for 14 years and has been subject to repeated Israeli onslaughts during that period which have led to wide scale damage, high rates of unemployment and poverty. Gaza also borders Egypt, which reinforces Israel’s siege.
“If, while maintaining relative calm, we make progress on the return of Israeli prisoners and missing persons, we will be able to expand this policy and develop the Gaza Strip,” added Gantz, referring to the two Israeli soldiers and two other Israelis held as prisoners of war in Gaza.