Shin Bet to Gov’t: Allowing 6,000 Gaza Arabs Into Israel to Work ‘Too Dangerous’

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinians riot near the
Gaza-Israel border. (Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90, File)

Despite the ongoing kite and balloon terror attacks from Gaza, as well as the fact that just a week ago the terror group fired 45 missiles at southern Israel, the government is seeking to issue work permits to 6,000 Gaza Arabs, a report in Yediot Acharonot said Tuesday – but the idea is bitterly opposed by the Shin Bet security service, which believes that the move will create a security nightmare for Israel.

As of now, the report said, the Shin Bet is winning the debate; the move to issue the permits has been temporarily frozen. But the government, led by the Prime Minister’s Office, believes in the plan and intends to bring the workers in at some point.

According to the report, many government officials believe that supplying Gaza Arabs with work opportunities will reduce the motivation to carry out terror attacks. Citing similar programs in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Yehudah and Shomron, the report cites officials as saying that “employment and income are one of our best weapons to battle terrorism and the recruitment of new terrorists.”

The Shin Bet disagrees, especially in the case of Gaza. Hamas, it said, is likely to use the program in order to gather intelligence on Israeli targets. Currently, many of the rockets and missiles fired by Hamas fall in open areas, and security officials believe that, along with the fact that most of the rockets are poorly made, Hamas does not have accurate maps showing where Israeli security installations are located. That could change if thousands of Gaza Arabs are allowed in on a daily basis, the agency believes.

Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry said that a plan it is devising to establish a port for Gaza to be located in Cyprus would only go ahead if Hamas released the remains of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, Hy”d. Hadashot News reported that Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman had broached the idea with Cypriot officials on his recent visit to the island, with a special dock to be set up to handle shipments to Gaza. The shipments would be inspected by Israeli officials, and the ships carrying inspected goods would be allowed to dock in Gaza to unload their merchandise.

Upon seeing the report, the Goldin and Oron families told news media that they opposed the idea, as Hamas did not deserve any “breaks” as long as their sons were being held in Gaza. In a statement Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said that the plan would indeed not be carried out without the return of the remains of the Israeli soldiers.