A laborer works on an apartment building under construction in the Har Homa quarter in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
As a response to Tuesday’s deadly Tel Aviv terrorist attack carried out by a resident of Kalkilya, Police and Border Police officers arrested hundreds of Palestinians illegally present in Israel.
An Israel Police spokesman said Thursday that since Tuesday, when Bashar Massalha stabbed to death American tourist Taylor Force and wounded 11 others on the Jaffa promenade, they have arrested more than 250 Palestinians illegally within the Green Line, as well as 27 Israelis accused of employing or sheltering them.
The raids took place both on the seam line with the West Bank – where Palestinians slip into Israel without permits, and within cities across Israel. The police targeted construction sites and businesses employing Palestinian workers, and campgrounds where they are known to live.
Dragnets targeting Palestinians in Israel without permits are a common response following a terrorist attack.
The raids usually taper off in frequency within a few days. Since the seaside terrorist attack Tuesday, police districts across the country have released statements about the detention of illegal Palestinians. In the Central District, police secured closure orders against several businesses employing undocumented laborers, including a construction site in Netanya, a car wash in Lod, and a café in Modi’in.
In December, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced measures toughening penalties for Israelis employing Palestinians who lack permits. The regulations allow police to close business for 30 days. Those closures may be extended by the courts until the end of legal proceedings against the employer.
Employers can now receive two years in prison or a fine of NIS 75,000 for a first offense. Repeat offenders may be imprisoned for four years and fined NIS 226,000.
“The recent wave of terrorism has proven the danger posed by illegal Palestinian laborers residing in Israeli cities and construction sites. We must increase the punishment against those who employ and assist them, so that it will no longer be worth it for them [employers] to endanger the lives of Israeli citizens,” Erdan said when the measures were announced.