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Israeli ministers recommend not letting in Palestinian workers

"The days that Israel will rely on the labor of Palestinian workers are over," said Minister of Economy and Industry Nir Barkat.

Israeli Economy Minister Nir Barkat meets with leaders in the business sector in Tel Aviv, Oct. 23, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
Israeli Economy Minister Nir Barkat meets with leaders in the business sector in Tel Aviv, Oct. 23, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.

Israel’s Socioeconomic Cabinet on Sunday evening voted to recommend not reintroducing tens and thousands of Palestinian workers from Judea and Samaria into the country’s pre-1967 lines.

The measure was reportedly opposed by almost all 15 members of the Socioeconomic Cabinet, which is smaller than the full government but includes the finance and economy ministers. Only Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter and Labor Minister Yoav Ben-Tzur abstained, according to Ynet.

The decision will now be put to a vote in the Security Cabinet, which has the final say in the matter.

Following Sunday’s meeting, Minister of Economy and Industry Nir Barkat called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to convene the full Cabinet and have all 30-plus ministers weigh in.

“The reality changed on 7/10 and unfortunately there are those who don’t realize it. The days that Israel will rely on the labor of Palestinian workers are over,” wrote Barkan in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

“Whoever thinks that peace with the Palestinians can be bought with money has not learned lessons from the Black Sabbath [of Oct. 7]. We can’t give any gift to the Palestinians,” said the Likud Party minister.

“I applaud the economic cabinet for voting against bringing in Palestinian workers and now we must act to cut red tape and bring in tens of thousands of workers from other countries as soon as possible,” said Barkan.

Hamas terrorists killed at least 1,200 people and wounded thousands more in a massive offensive launched from the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7, which included the firing of thousands of rockets at Israel and the infiltration of the Jewish state by terrorist forces.

Before the Oct. 7 attacks, Israel provided work permits for some 17,000 Palestinians from Gaza to enter Israel. Some of them carried out reconnaissance for Hamas in preparation for the terrorist onslaught.

In addition, thousands of foreign workers have fled Israel since the start of the war, and many Israelis have been called up for reserve duty as the IDF works to destroy Hamas’s terror capabilities in Gaza.

In October, Israel authorized the entry of some 8,000 Palestinian workers from Judea and Samaria in an attempt to offset the “severe” shortage of laborers, an Israeli security source confirmed to JNS.

With the approval of the Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), Palestinians have been dispatched to “vital” industrial areas, food factories, medical facilities and burial societies.

Among other places of employment, Palestinians have been brought in to work at a large poultry plant in Jerusalem’s Atarot industrial zone, the source said.

Palestinians from Judea and Samaria have also been hired to work at hotels across Israel, including in some housing evacuees from Israeli towns that Hamas attacked on Oct. 7.

The plan to let in even more Palestinian workers had previously met with opposition from National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

“I am against the entry of thousands of workers from the [Palestinian] Authority who may endanger civilian lives,” he wrote in an Oct. 22 post on X.

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