Thousands in Gaza Line Up for Israeli Work Permits

GAZA CITY, Gaza -

Thousands of Palestinians lined up outside chambers of commerce across the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, hoping to get permits to work inside Israel after rumors circulated that more would be issued to residents of the territory ruled by Hamas.

An Israeli security official said authorities decided to allow in 7,000 workers in September but were only able to issue 4,500 permits. They are now taking applications for the remaining 2,500, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Sharif Al-Faqawi, one of the workers lining up for a permit, said he shares a single room with his wife and eight children.

“We hope the crossings will be open so we can work and feed our children,” he said. “When I go north (into Israel), at least I will be able to feed them and build a future for them.”

Hamas recently organized a workshop to discuss the management of natural resources in what is now Israel once it “liberates” historical Palestine. Critics saw the event as evidence of Hamas’ disconnection from the daily hardships endured by Palestinians in Gaza, where employment hovers around 50%.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians from Yehuda and Shomron also work in Israel, mainly in construction and agriculture, where wages are much higher than in Palestinian areas.

Reporting by the Associated Press.