US Treasury Secretary tells Israel to bring back Palestinian workers

Israeli ministers are concerned with the security problem posed by re-issuing work permits to Palestinians. 

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged the Israeli government to reinstate work permits for Palestinians and to release tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority.

Yellen sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with “a number of steps that the US believes must be taken” which “are vital for the economic well-being of Palestinians and Israelis alike.”

The letter was addressed to Netanyahu and not her counterpart Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, because it’s believed that the US government has blacklisted him, according to Axios.

In addition to a request to release the tax funds to the Palestinian Authority, a move Smotrich was not willing to make for fear the funds might reach Hamas, Yellen urged Israel to “reinstate work permits for Palestinians and reduce barriers to commerce” for Arabs who live in Judea and Samaria.

Since the Hamas invasion of Israel on October 7th, Palestinian workers have been barred from working within the pre-1967 border of Israel  and 150,00 Palestinians who live in Judea and Samaria are now unable to travel for work.

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In addition, 30,000 workers from Thailand left since the beginning of the war which has created a shortage of agricultural workers.

To respond to the shortage, Israel has considered bringing in tens of thousands of workers from other countries to replace the Palestinian workforce.

Israeli ministers are concerned with the security problem posed by allowing Palestinians in to work, especially since the PA has not condemned the Hamas massacre on October 7th and recent terror attacks were committed by Palestinian workers.

A car-ramming and stabbing attack in Ra’anana which killed one and wounded 17 others was perpetrated by three Palestinian terrorists who were working illegally in pre-1967 Israel.

In December, Minister of Economy and Industry Nir Barkat encouraged other ministers to vote against allowing Palestinian workers to enter for jobs in pre-1967 areas of Israel.

He wrote on X, “The reality changed on 7/10 and unfortunately there are those who don’t realize it. The days that Israel will rely on the labor of Palestinian workers are over.”

“Whoever thinks that peace with the Palestinians can be bought with money has not learned lessons from the Black Sabbath [of Oct. 7]. We can’t give any gift to the Palestinians,” said the Likud Party minister.

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“I applaud the economic cabinet for voting against bringing in Palestinian workers and now we must act to cut red tape and bring in tens of thousands of workers from other countries as soon as possible,” said Barkat.