Israel set to increase work permits for Palestinians by 30,000, move aimed at decreasing violence

Palestinian workers seen during construction work on new building apartment buildings in the Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa, East Jerusalem, on October 28, 2014.Palestinian workers seen during construction work on new building apartment buildings in the Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa, East Jerusalem, on October 28, 2014.

Israel’s cabinet has reportedly approved, in principle, an increase of 30,000 work permits for West Bank Palestinians wishing to work in Israel in order to help reduce violence.

First reported by Haaretz, but since covered by multiple Israeli media outlets, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, coordinator of government activity in the territories, are thought to have presented the plan to the cabinet.

Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot have both recently argued that facilitating Palestinian employment is likely to help reduce violence which has seen near-daily attacks on Israelis since October.

During the current wave of violence, which has seen at least 30 Israelis killed since October 2015, just two attacks have been carried out by Palestinians with valid work permits, one in Tel Aviv and another in Modi’in.

At present, 58,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank possess permits to work in Israel. However, it is estimated that around 27,000 work in industrial zones in Israeli West Bank settlements.

In addition, tens of thousands of West Bank Palestinians are thought to work in Israel without official permission. The 30,000 additional workers are expected to work in industries including construction, infrastructure and agriculture.

Although it remains unclear when the plan to issue additional work permits might be implemented,

Apparently, a more detailed plan for the additional permits may be presented to Israel’s Security Cabinet in the coming weeks. An Israeli security official is quoted by Haaretz saying that securing jobs for Palestinians, has in the past proven to be an effective means of “restraining terrorism.”

Meanwhile, an 11-year-old boy was stabbed and lightly injured on Monday in the central city of Ramla. The attacker escaped but is thought to be a local Arab youth with possible nationalistic motivations.