UPDATE: Israeli Police Tear up Palestinian Workers’ Entry Permits to 1948 Land, Arrest 5 Workers

JENIN, October 11, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli security forces Sunday tore up the entry permits of many Palestinian workers – seeking to reach their workplaces inside the 1948 land – at al-Jalameh crossing point, north of Jenin, according to local sources.

Israeli security forces stationed at al-Jalameh border crossing, north of Jenin, tore up the entry permits of several Palestinian workers who were awaiting entry to reach their workplaces in land occupied since 1948.

Meanwhile, Israeli police detained five Palestinian workers while they were present at their workplace inside the 1948 land, citing unpermitted entry to Israel as a pretext. The five were identified as Rami Abu-Arra, 18, Ali Abu-Arra, 22, Ehab Sawafta, 22, and Hassan Abu-Arra, 24, and Hosni Saeed Khalilia.

This comes amid growing tension in the West Bank districts as well as in the 1948 land, prompted by provocative visits by Jewish fanatics to al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.

According to B’Tselem report issued in April 2014, “Israel has strict criteria for the approval of work permits and issues no more permits than the number fixed in an occasionally revised quota. The current (March 2014) quota is 47,350 work permits for Israel and the settlements; most of the quota has been utilized.”

In June 2013, B’Tselem staff visited the Tarqumya and Eyal Checkpoints, through which Palestinians with work permits enter Israel, and ‘found harsh conditions of overcrowding, long lines, and cases of humiliation during inspection’.

The human rights center  said that tens of thousands of Palestinians whose applications for work permits have been denied, or who do not meet Israel’s strict criteria to begin with, are forced to try and enter Israel without a permit.

“Every now and then, soldiers are sent out on missions to ‘capture illegals’, involving the arrest, injury, and rarely even death, of people who are not considered a threat even by the security establishment,” said B’Tselem.

According to current (31 March 2014) figures provided by the Israel Prison Service, 1,424 Palestinians – including 22 minors – are being held in Israeli prisons for illegal entry into the country.

“For Palestinian workers who regularly enter Israel illegally to earn a living, life is a constant struggle for survival and returning home safe and sound from work cannot be taken for granted. They live in constant anxiety, fearing arrest or injury. In such a reality, labor rights such as a minimum wage, reasonable work hours, and a pension scheme seem like a distant dream.”

“Israel must enable the development of a Palestinian economy in the West Bank to provide decent work opportunities for the local population. Until that development is realized, Israel must issue permits to Palestinians wishing to work in Israel – based on appropriate security checks – and must ensure workers’ rights are upheld,” the center concluded.