68 Palestinian workers arrested for working without “permits”

Bethlehem/PNN/

A Israeli border police shot and wounded a Palestinian worker while apprehending 68 Palestinians attempting to cross the border.

The Palestinians, between 20 and 60 years old, were trying to cross the border in the Hebron area to go to work when they were arrested on the pretext of not having permits.

Israeli Channel 7 said the young man was shot in the leg and hand, and fled the scene while wounded.

Nearly 50,000 Palestinians officially work in Israel, while around 30,000 cross the border illegally every day from the West Bank to work. Israel makes it very difficult to get work permits. In 2000, more than 160,000 Palestinians worked in Israel. But in 2001 they banned all Palestinians entering the country, and have gradually granted more work permits to Palestinians.

Workers have to get up at dawn to cross the border between 4 and 6am. It is often difficult and clashes occur if a gate at a border terminal is not opened, or if there are delays in the process.

The Israeli army patrols the borders regularly to arrest people crossing without a permit, and send them back. If a Palestinian is caught crossing illegally, it is even more difficult for them to obtain an official work permit.

Once they get to Israel, workers from the West Bank then take the bus to their workplace.

They receive on average half the salary of an Israeli worker. Those without permits earn about a quarter of an Israeli salary.