Israel steps up battle against illegal Palestinian workers

Israel is considering new legislation to defend itself against Palestinian workers who enter Israel illegally and pose a dire security threat. 

By: Atara Beck, World Israel News
Gilad Erdan

Minister Gilad Erdan. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israel is taking further steps to secure its citizens against the wave of Palestinian terror attacks and is initiating new amendments to legislation to combat the illegal employment of Palestinians who have no security clearance.

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Sunday presented amendments to the Law of Entry, which regulates permits for Palestinians entering Israel. The proposed legislation includes heftier fines levied against Israelis who employ and house illegal Palestinian workers as well as extended prison sentences.

The proposed amendment also grants police the authority to shut down businesses and building sites for up to 30 days and gives courts the power to close such businesses entirely and cancel their business permits.

Thousands of Palestinians enter Israel illegally, posing a severe terror threat. Palestinians can receive work permits in Israel, which include security clearance by Israel’s security establishment. Several of the recent terror attacks were committed by Palestinians who infiltrated Israel illegally.

“Whoever employs illegal Palestinian workers endangers the lives of Israeli citizens,” Erdan stated. “In the current wave of terror it has again been proven how dangerous the presence of  the illegal Palestinian workers can be in city centers. We must harshly punish them so that they do not risk Israeli lives for financial gain.”

Under the proposed amendment, business owners who employ Palestinians entering Israel illegally could be fined up to NIS 75,000 ($19,300). Repeated offenders could face a fine of up to NIS 452,000 ($116,000), an increase over the current maximum fine of NIS 67,000 ($17,000). The amendment also sets a minimum fine of NIS 5,000 ($1,300).

In addition, the maximum jail time for repeat offenders will be raised from two years to four. Those who smuggle and transport illegal Palestinian workers could also face a possible suspended sentence of up to four years.

Under current law, Israelis caught transporting illegal Palestinian workers could also have their cars confiscated and their driver’s licenses revoked for up to six months.