Thousands of Gazans apply for Israeli work permits

3 Gaza
Palestinian men gather to apply for work permits in Israel, at Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, on October 6, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Thousands of Gazans applied Wednesday for work permits for Israel, which has been reopening its gates to laborers from the Palestinian enclave following the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza in May. اضافة اعلان

In Jabalia, a refugee camp in northern Gaza, a crowd of men holding their identity papers lined up hoping to obtain a permit to work in Israel, AFP journalists said.

“There is no work in the Gaza Strip,” said Fathi Abu Noor, a 40-year-old unemployed man.

“Yesterday I heard that workers are registering to get permits (for Israel),” he said.

“I hope things will get better because the current situation is really difficult,” the father of five said.

The total number of permits being granted by Israel to Palestinian laborers in Gaza is 7,000, an Israeli official told AFP, up from 5,000 workers and traders allowed in August.

In May, Israel and Hamas reached a truce following 11 days of the deadliest fighting in years.

Israel has since been easing restrictions on the Palestinian enclave, including reopening crossings, expanding the fishing zone, and permitting the entry of certain goods.

Many Palestinians want to work in Israel, where wages are higher than in Gaza.

For nearly 15 years, Israel has blockaded the impoverished territory of 2 million inhabitants where unemployment rates hover around 50 percent.

Palestinian economic analyst Omar Shaaban said Israeli work permits could help alleviate “the unemployment crisis and poverty” within the territory.
According to Shaaban, Gaza’s income would increase by $3 million per day if Israel granted 20,000 work permits.

Meanwhile, the increase in permits was “the result of a political process, including discussions in Cairo between the Hamas movement and Egyptian officials”, a Palestinian official at the chamber of commerce said on condition of anonymity.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has put forth a plan to improve living conditions in Gaza in exchange for a Hamas commitment to “long-term quiet”.

Israel’s latest aggression on the strip was the fourth such incident since 2008.

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