The Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, headed by MK David Amsalem (Likud), discussed on Sunday the Entry into Israel Bill, which seeks to significantly stiffen the punishment for employing or housing people who reside in Israel illegally. The bill would also extend by two years the temporary order which forbids people from transporting illegal residents. On Monday the committee approved the bill for its final vote in the Knesset plenum.

The legislation was divided into two bills. The first was submitted during the previous Knesset by MKs Mordhay Yogev (HaBayit HaYehudi), Yakov Margi (Shas), Nissan Slomianski (HaBayit HaYehudi) and Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (HaBayit HaYehudi). The current Knesset applied the Continuity Law to the bill. The second bill is sponsored by the government.

Revealed during Internal Affairs Committee meeting: Since September, 44% of terror attacks within the Green Line were carried out by illegal residents

MK David Amsalem (Photo: Itzik Harari)

Since the latest wave of terror began in September, 73 terror attacks occurred within the Green Line (out of a total of 223 attacks). Of the attacks within the Green Line, 27 were carried out by illegal residents – or 44%. The figures were presented to the committee by the legal advisor to the Ministry of Public Security, Yoel Hadar, who called to increase the efforts against illegal residency as a means of reducing the number of terror attacks.

Committee Chairman Amsalem lauded Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) for ”providing the `toolbox` which allows law enforcement authorities to better deal with the difficult reality.” He stressed the importance of sealing holes in the security fence and issuing more work permits to Palestinians. ”Those who have permits have something to lose, and so do their sons,” Amsalem said. ”We want them to make a living rather than join the extremists.”

The proposed amendment to the Entry into Israel Law states that a one-time employer of illegal workers will be subject to up to two years in prison. Those who employ more than one illegal worker, or hire an illegal worker for more than 24 hours, will face up to four years of incarceration.

The bill sets a minimum fine of NIS 10,000 and a maximum of NIS 226,000 for one-time employers, while for those who employ more than one illegal worker the minimum fine will be NIS 20,000 and a maximum of NIS 300,000. In case of corporations employing illegal workers regularly, the minimum fine will be NIS 40,000, with a maximum of NIS 452,000.

MK Yogev said the bill ”is another tool in the toolbox, which must also contain intelligence, operations and deterrence.” The MK said he too was in favor of issuing more work permits to Palestinians.

MK Osama Sa`adi (Joint List) said, ”There is a severe problem regarding family reunification in the Negev. You `killed` us with the temporary orders. Entire families live in the Arabah and in Tayibe, with some children who do not have stay permits. Should someone get four years [in prison] for driving one of them?”

MK Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Camp) turned to Amsalem and said: ”I am surprised that you do not understand that the golden age in the relations between the Palestinians and Israel was when the gates were opened and a worker returned to his home for the weekend with a salary. There were no terror attacks then. Do you want to close yourselves in? Let the Palestinians live with welfare. Believe me; the knifers do not have permits. Those who do will be fearful of hurting the fabric of life.”