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Israel to Increase Work Permits for Palestinians

Israel to Increase Work Permits for Palestinians

Thursday, 29 July, 2021 - 09:15
Unofficial crossing for Palestinian workers to cross into Israel from Hebron in the West Bank (EPA)

Israel has informed the Palestinian Authority that it would increase the number of work permits for Palestinians in the West Bank by 15,000 as part of steps to support the PA’s stability and economy.

The head of Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Ghassan Alian, informed the PA of the decision, which will be approved next week.

Alian said the additional work permits would strengthen the Israeli and Palestinian economies and largely contribute to stability in Judea and Samaria.

"Economic stability is the key to preserving security in the region."

The announcement came after talks held between Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Elian explained that Israel intends to increase by 15,000 workers the quota of Palestinian residents of Judea and Samaria, and another 1,000 permits will be issued to Palestinians working in hotels.

According to Alian's statement, preparations will also be completed to ensure that the West Bank crossings are ready for the increase in the movement of Palestinian workers to and from Israel.

The ongoing discussions between Gantz and Abbas are expected to lead to additional steps to enhance economic relations between Israel and the PA.

The Israeli move came as part of the government's aim to ease the economic crisis of the Authority after coming under US pressure.

For weeks, the government has been discussing several measures, including reducing the collection of financial authority obligations from tax revenue funds to support financial stability.

Earlier, Gantz said he held talks with US officials to discuss ways to help the Authority, which is facing unprecedented political and economic challenges.

The demand to increase the workers' quota is among dozens of requests that the Palestinians have made to Washington to pressure Israel to comply with it as part of confidence-building measures.

Among the Palestinian demands are a halt to the evacuation of Jerusalemites from their homes, the release of prisoners based on the old agreement with Israel that has not been completed, and the return of the bodies of Palestinians detained by the Israeli authorities.

The Palestinians also demanded halting settlement expansion, including in East Jerusalem, and home demolitions in the Jordan Valley.

The Authority also requested an amendment to the Paris Protocol on Economic Relations to free goods imported to the West Bank from customs and the development of cellular networks in the West Bank to the fourth generation G4.

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