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13% hike in work permits for Palestinians prior to PM-Biden parley

CM 28/07/2021

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Israel is due to increase by 13 percent the number of permits it grants to Palestinians to work in Israel in an effort to boost the flagging economy in the West Bank territory under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority.
The move comes in advance of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s upcoming trip to the United States to meet with US President Joe Biden and in the aftermath of last week’s conversation between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
The gesture is expected to come before the government this Sunday for approval.
It’s one of a number of steps Israel plans to take to strengthen the economic ties between Israel and the PA, the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said on Wednesday. 

Some 15,000 permits will now be given to Palestinians in the field of construction and another 1,000 for the hotel industry. They will augment the 120,000 permits granted for employment in Israel, of which 30,000 are for work in West Bank settlements.
Once the government approves the move, the number of permits grants Palestinians to work in Israel or the Israeli settlements will stand at 136,000.
The work permit increases concludes a process of “long administrative work” and is “part of a comprehensive move to strengthen the economic ties between Israel and the PA,” said COGAT head Major General Rassan Alian. 
This measure “will strengthen the Israeli and Palestinian economies, and will largely contribute to the security stability in the area of Judea and Samaria. 
“Economic stability is the key to preserve the security in the region,” Alian said. On Wednesday, he informed senior Palestinian Authority officials of the decision taken in cooperation with the ministries of housing, finance, tourism and regional cooperation.
The government decision in this matter is expected to pass next week in coordination between all ministries. 
The Israeli security system will “complete its preparations to make sure the crossings in Judea and Samaria are ready for the increase of the Palestinian workers’ movement into Israel and back to Judea and Samaria,” COGAT said. 
Earlier this month Israel also agreed to help the PA through an agreement with the Hashemite Kingdom, by which Israel increased the level of goods Jordan can export to the Palestinians from $160 million to $700m.
The Palestinian economy has been in dire straights due to the loss of US funding during the Trump administration and the PA dispute with Israel over PA funding to Palestinian terrorists and their families.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further weakened that economy. 
The Biden administration has moved in stages to restore the over half-a-billion in annual funding it had given to the Palestinians prior to 2017, mostly through third parties such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees. This year the US has pledged $313.8 million for UNRWA.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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