Permits will be issued immediately for 4,000 Palestinian construction workers and another 1,250 permits will be issued for other sectors, at the discretion of the prime minister.

(Communicated by Media Advisor – Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor)

The Social-Economic Cabinet approved on Sunday (9 January 2011) the proposal by Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Benjamin Ben Eliezer to increase the number of Palestinians from Judea and Samaria permitted to work in Israel. The decision has the authority of a government decision.

According to the proposal, permits will be issued immediately for 4,000 Palestinian construction workers and another 1,250 permits will be issued for other sectors, at the discretion of the prime minister. Minister Ben Eliezer’s proposal implements a government decision stating that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, together with the Minister of Defense, should arrange for an additional 5,000 permits for Palestinian residents of Judea and Samaria to work in Israel. So far, only 1,000 permits have been granted.

Minister Ben Eliezer said that, in addition to boosting the construction sector, this move is important in building trust between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. It will provide an immediate solution to the shortage of workers for wet-work, thereby creating 10,000 jobs for Israeli workers in other specialties in the construction industry. The supply of apartments will increase, with an expected decrease in housing prices.

Ben Eliezer pointed out that Palestinian workers, unlike foreign workers, go home every day, which gives them a significant advantage from the Israeli point of view. At the same time, his Ministry is trying to train as many Israelis as possible in the building trade.