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Israel Authorizes 10,000 Entry Permits for Gaza Merchants

Israel Authorizes 10,000 Entry Permits for Gaza Merchants

Friday, 22 October, 2021 - 09:15
Hamas security guards standing next to contraband confiscated this year - File Photo/AP

Israel announced on Wednesday authorizing 3,000 work permits for merchants and workers from the Gaza Strip starting Thursday.

A total of 10,000 Gaza merchants will now be allowed to leave the enclave through the Erez pedestrian crossing, said the head of Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Major General Ghassan Alian.

This decision will contribute to improving the living conditions of Gaza residents, who suffer greatly from the tough economic conditions, Alian noted.

Only those already vaccinated against or recovered from COVID-19 will be allowed to cross, he added.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state. However, he has stressed his government’s commitment to improving living conditions in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

Following the decision, dozens of Palestinian merchants applied to the Chamber of Commerce in the Strip to obtain work permits in Israel.

There has been a great demand for work permits since Israel announced raising the number of permits from 5,000 to 7,000 last week, an official in the chamber said.

It is noteworthy that Israel had earlier announced it would increase the number of work permits for Palestinians in the West Bank by 15,000 as part of steps to support the Palestinian Authority’s stability and economy.

The new permits will bring the number of Palestinians allowed to work in Israel to 106,000, with another 30,000 Palestinians authorized to work in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The additional work permits “will strengthen the Israeli and Palestinian economies, and will largely contribute to security and stability in the area of Judea and Samaria,” Alian added.

The entry of workers to Israel is “part of the implementation of the truce understandings,” said a Hamas official.

The Strip has a population of approximately 2.1 million people, including some 1.4 million Palestine refugees.

For at least the last decade and a half, the socio-economic situation in Gaza has been in steady decline.

A blockade on land, air, and sea was imposed by Israel following the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

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