Soldiers Assault Palestinian Worker for Crossing Border without a Permit

05 Dec
9:39 PM

Israeli armed soldiers, on Saturday, physically assaulted a Palestinian after he was caught returning back home from his workplace in Israel without having a work permit for seeking employment there.Security sources told WAFA that 24-year-old Bilal Amarneh, a local from Jenin, was severally beaten by soldiers manning al-Taybeh Israeli military checkpoint, near Tulkarem, as he was returning home from his workplace inside the 1948 occupied land of Israel, for not having a work permit.

According to a B’Tselem report issued in April of 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.”

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 simply forced to try and enter Israel without a permit.

Having no other choice or job in the occupied West Bank, and because wages in Israel are double — even three times more than — the wages in the West Bank or Gaza, Palestinians must acquire work permits or take the risk of crossing over into Israel illegally.

On an almost monthly basis, Israel detains tens of Palestinian workers of all ages who seek employment in Israel, but without having the necessary permits, because they were either denied or couldn’t apply for it.

Even though Palestinians break Israeli law by entering Israel without a permit, such actions shouldn’t be viewed in isolation from the overall situation, according to B’Tselem: “Israel is required to ensure the livelihood of the Palestinian residents in the Occupied Palestinian Territories under its effective control, and guarantee their right to work and to an adequate standard of living.”

As an occupying power, Israel is responsible for the wellbeing and providing a decent living for Palestinians who can’t find proper job opportunities in the West Bank, which suffers from growing fiscal crisis.

“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.

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