Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon will postpone for at least a week a request that the government issue 33,000 permits for workers from the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas to work in Israel. Kachlon had planned to make the request at Sunday’s cabinet meeting.
Currently, some 43,000 PA Arabs work in Israel proper, most of them in construction. The addition of 33,000 workers would nearly double that amount.
The reason for the delay is not recent terror attacks, but technical issues involving the preparedness of the Defense Ministry to provide facilities to process the workers. The Ministry is in favor of the move, but has asked for more time to ensure that it has the personnel and facilities in place to process the workers. Without such preparedness, the wait for workers to be processed will be extremely long, leading to delays in getting them to work, the Ministry said.
The Finance Ministry has allocated money to the Defense Ministry to upgrade the facilities, and the Shin Bet has been advising the Defense Ministry on procedures to process the workers, Kachlon said. Government officials told Channel Two that allowing more PA workers into Israel could help calm the security situation and reduce the motivation among some Arabs to carry out terror attacks.