The government's social-economic cabinet was expected late Sunday night in a telephone vote to approve the issuance of another 5,000 work permits for Palestinian agricultural and construction workers, bringing to some 46,450 the number of available permits.

Last week, the Foreign Ministry issued a report saying that Israel had increased the number of work permits for Palestinians since February 2011 by some 40 percent.

The report, issued for Sunday's Ad Ho Liaison Committee, or donor's conference for the PA, meeting in New York, said that currently some 32,000 Palestinians earn their living in Israel and another 27,750 Palestinians work for Israeli employers in the West Bank.

One government official said the newest decision to increase the number of permits comes against the backdrop of the economic crisis in the West Bank, which two weeks ago led to violent protests.  The official said it was not in Israel's interest to see the economic collapse of the PA, and that providing more employment for Palestinians inside Israel would help the Palestinian economic situation.

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