Construction worker in West Bank 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
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.
permits would be for Palestinian agricultural and construction workers, and will
bring 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.
report, issued for Sunday’s Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, or donor’s conference for
the Palestinian Authority, meeting in New York, said that 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.
Binyamin Netanyahu, in his Rosh Hashana interview with The Jerusalem Post, said,
“I don’t think anyone looking at this rationally would want an economic collapse
[of the PA] that would lead to a takeover [by] Iran’s proxy [Hamas] in the
suburbs of Jerusalem.”
Netanyahu said that with the political and
economic instability in the PA, “you might get what you got in Gaza, and that is
While the PA and the World Bank charge that Israeli curbs on
Palestinian development in Area C (under full Israeli control) of the West Bank,
approximately 62% of its territory, the Foreign Ministry report lists a number
of measures the government has taken recently to improve the PA’s economic
outlook. These steps include the following:
• Agreement on discussions regarding
the development of the Gaza marine gas field that “could contributed
dramatically to Palestinian fiscal sustainability.”
• An agreement signed
in July by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to
facilitate the movement of goods between Israel and the PA, and support efforts
by both sides to reduce illegal trade and tax evasion.
• Advanced a NIS
180 million payment of PA tax revenues collected by Israel to Ramallah on the
eve of Ramadan in July to enable the PA to pay salaries on time, and two weeks
ago advanced another NIS 250m. after violent economic protests broke out.