Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Wednesday called on National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi to reverse a decision to allow some 8,000 Palestinian laborers to work in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as well as within the Green Line.
Israeli authorities halted the practice in the aftermath of Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre of around 1,200 people. Three weeks later, they authorized the entry of thousands of Arab workers from Judea and Samaria within the country’s pre-1967 lines amid a “severe” shortage of labor due to the war.
With the approval of the Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), Palestinian workers were dispatched to “vital” industrial areas, food factories, medical facilities and burial societies, a security official told JNS at the time.
Palestinians from Judea and Samaria have also been hired to work at hotels across Israel, including in some that are housing evacuees from communities along the Gaza border that Hamas attacked on Oct. 7.
“Allowing Palestinian laborers from the Palestinian Authority into the State of Israel endangers citizens’ lives and opens the door for a repeat of the events of Oct. 7,” Ben-Gvir wrote on X.
“The blood of the residents of Judea and Samaria is no less red than that of the rest of Israel’s citizens,” he added.
The minister called for the Cabinet to be convened immediately to discuss the matter.
Thousands of foreign workers have fled Israel since the start of the war. At the same time, many Israeli citizens have been called up for military service as the IDF mounts a massive air, ground and sea invasion of Gaza to destroy Hamas.
Before the Oct. 7 attacks, Jerusalem also provided work permits for some 17,000 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to enter Israel. Some of them carried out reconnaissance for Hamas in preparation for the terrorist onslaught.
Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put off a vote on whether to readmit even more Arab day workers into Israel, after ministers expressed opposition during a stormy three-hour debate.
During a Security Cabinet meeting, the heads of the IDF, Shin Bet and National Security Council argued in favor of the return of Palestinian day workers from Judea and Samaria. Frustrated workers unable to make a living create a “pressure cooker” situation in the region, they said, which could spark more terrorist attacks.
Before the war, tens of thousands of Palestinians crossed into Israel daily for work.