Photo: Flash90

Israel increases Gaza work permits

The move comes as part of Jerusalem’s campaign to ease border tensions with the Palestinian Islamist-Hamas controlled territory.

By Erin Viner

10,000 residents of Gaza are now permitted to cross into Israel each day for employment, offering a new source of income to a region where 64% of the population is estimated to live in poverty and unemployment runs at 50%.

The new jobs will “serve calm and security stability,” said IDF Colonel Moshe Tetro, the head of Israel’s Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) for Gaza, which is responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s civilian policy.

Senior Hamas official Eassam Daalis was cited by Reuters as claiming that Israel is expected to eventually offer 30,000 work permits, which economists say could allow workers to earn average daily wages of ₪500 shekels (approximately$156 or €138), equivalent to about a week’s pay for many in Gaza.

“Every week I go back home happy to my family with ₪2,000 shekels (approximately $625 or €553). I also give to my mother and my father,” said Jamil Abdallah, 31, from Jabalya in northern Gaza.

Israel has linked the improved conditions to de-escalating violence following last May’s 11-day Operation Guardian of the Walls conflict with Hamas.

“If the security situation remains stable and calm, the State of Israel will open up more and more,” underscored Col. Tetro.

Prior to the Second Palestinian Intifada Uprising in 2000, about 130,000 Gazans are estimated to have worked in Israel, which tightened restrictions on entry after the 2005 unilateral withdrawal from the Strip during the so-called “Gaza Disengagement” of turning control over to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Hamas, an acronym in Arabic for the “Islamic Resistance Movement,” clearly identifies with the global Muslim Brotherhood by inclusion in its Charter of the Islamist Movement slogan: “Allah is its goal, the Prophet is the model, the Qur’an (Koran) its constitution, Jihad its path, and death for the sake of Allah its most sublime belief.”

The radical Islamist Palestinian group, which was founded in 1987, advocates “armed resistance” to annihilate Israel and is adamantly opposed to the Mideast peace process.  Hamas seized control of Gaza in an internecine 2007 war from its bitter Fatah rival, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Both Israel and Egypt imposed restrictions on their respective crossings into Gaza following the takeover to prevent the flow of contraband to the terror group.

The radical Islamist group, which denies Israel’s right to exist, has waged 4 wars with other Palestinian terror groups against the Jewish State since 2008.

Some 2.3 million Gazans live in the narrow coastal strip.

There has reportedly been a rising demand for Hebrew-language lessons by Gazans hoping to take advantage of rising employment opportunities in Israel.

The owner of the Nafha languages center, Ahmed Al-Faleet, said there has been a four-fold surge of 160 students per course since Israel began granting work permits in the last quarter of 2021.