AFRICAN MIGRANTS sit on pipes outside Holot, a detention centre in Israel’s southern Negev desert..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Deputy Foreign Minister and acting Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that talks are under way to open up a new border crossing with Jordan near the Dead Sea in order to ease tourist travel and bring in more Jordanian workers to replace illegal African migrants.
A roundtable discussion on the topic is scheduled for Tuesday at a Dead Sea hotel with the head of the Tamar Regional Council, Dov Litvinoff.
The proposed crossing, said Kara, would supplement existing crossings in the South in Eilat, in the North near Beit She’an, and the Allenby Bridge crossing, which serves Palestinians and foreigners. The new crossing would boost tourism and further facilitate the replacement of African migrant workers with Jordanians, he said.
“Last week, 1,500 Jordanian day workers started working in Eilat,” said Kara, adding that so far it is working out well. The Jordanian workers stay for eight hours and then return home to their country at the end of each workday.
“If we succeed, we will be able to bring 4,000 Jordanian workers to the Dead Sea to work in hotels instead of the Africans,” said Kara. This would help solve the African illegal immigration problem, he argued, since they would be less motivated to come if there were no jobs to be found.
Further, explained Kara, goods are currently transferred from Turkey to Haifa Port and on to Jordan by truck. From Jordan the goods are distributed to other Arab states. An additional crossing could expedite this commerce.
Asked if there could be a security issue with allowing Jordanian workers into the country, the deputy minister responded that “Palestinian or Jordanian workers were never the problem.” Moreover, each person who enters is checked and known, he added.