Rewarding terror? Israel considers more work permits for Palestinians

Despite numerous attacks committed by terrorists with employment permits, security establishment weighs bringing in another 10,000 young Palestinian men to work in Israel.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

Security officials are weighing an initiative to expand work permits to Palestinians amid a soaring terror wave, as Israel faces its bloodiest year for civilian casualties since the Second Intifada.

According to a Walla report, Israel’s security and intelligence agencies believe that granting additional employment opportunities for young Palestinian men to seek work in Israel will make it less likely for them to engage in terror activities.

Palestinians who are not gainfully employed are more likely to be susceptible to the influence of terror groups like Hamas, which is currently strengthening its grip over Palestinian Authority-controlled enclaves in Judea and Samaria, officials theorize.

Led by wildly unpopular octogenarian Mahmoud Abbas, the PA has lost much of its influence and Israel fears that Hamas and other terror groups will seize control over the region.

Expanding the work permit program is a “confidence-building” measure that can help shore up the PA’s control over the territories, Walla reported Israeli security officials as saying.

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Notably, officials are considering lowering the minimum age for a work permit for unmarried men down to 25, from the current requirement that Palestinian bachelors be at least 27 years old should they wish to work in Israel.

This change would allow an estimated additional 10,000 Palestinians to be employed in Israeli cities and towns.

A number of terror attacks in recent years have been carried out by Palestinians who held either current or expired work permits, including the perpetrator of a recent car-ramming attack at a checkpoint near Modi’in that left one soldier dead.

PA Chair Abbas has reportedly been in poor health for years, but refuses to name his political successor. The Israeli security establishment is preparing for widespread chaos after he dies, and a top U.S. Middle East official has warned that the situation will likely create a power vacuum in which terror groups may gain total control of the area.