Israel Opens the Gates To Palestinian Arab Workers?
Seeing is believing — maybe. I was not sure I really believed what I was seeing so I wrote a message to the owners of the Facebook page that uploaded the video. The page is called “West Bank Workers in Israel”. I asked if we could speak on the phone and they agreed to answer my questions anonymously in private messages only.
The video shows Palestinian workers freely entering Israel this morning — 28 June 2020. See how they wave at the IDF vehicle that drives along without stopping them. And see them running gleefully to work. Below the video I will post their responses to my questions and continue the discussion.
“Israel knows very well that the Palestinians are not a threat to Israelis,” my contact from the Facebook page wrote. “There are soldiers overlooking this scene.” He told me that Abbas and the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) want the people to die of hunger.
I have to say that this is not the first time I have heard someone say that. People who do not know each other, as far as I know, have told me exactly the same thing, and there was even a television news report on the Israeli Kan Channel that suggested that. I must admit that I cannot understand why a leader would want to starve his people unless he thinks it makes them more pliable. But these are people and not robots and people do eventually rebel against those who keep them hungry.
In December 2019, Israeli TV’s Ohad Hemo made a video on the same topic. Here is the link to the article in which the video can be viewed [Hebrew only]. I can show you one screenshot:
The figures in the bushes are Palestinian Arabs on the PA side of the border fence. One of them shouts out to IDF soldiers the same age as him: “Let us in. We want to work.”
Hemo, narrating the video, says this “totally surreal scene” takes place in early morning. The soldiers say nothing and the Palestinian calls out again: “Come on, man. We want to work.” They are not as lucky as the people in the video at the top of my article. They are begging the soldiers to let them pass through the opening in the fence. “It’s 7 am. We have to get to work.” When the soldiers remain silent, they turn around and go back home. Hemo refers to this as: “Israeli-Palestinian surrealism at its best.” He then takes us to a place near Harish where a trickle of Palestinians cross the fence with nobody stopping them. They are illegal workers going to work in Israel. Places of work are so close yet so far.
My contact from Facebook “Westbank Workers in Israel” page also told me:
It is the PA that forces the Palestinian youth to commit acts of terror. The Palestinian people are not terrorists and their entrance into Israel proves that. They just want to live with security.
And as we see in the videos above, they just want to work and feed their families. Mohammad Massad says this as well. And he says that if the people could be assured of a decent living, they would be less enticed by the PA salaries offered for those who sacrifice themselves to keep the terror going. But he also adds that all it takes to turn my contact’s statement into a lie is “one person with a knapsack filled with explosives instead of his lunch and a change of clothes”.
Scenes like these enrage Massad. Regarding the video at the beginning of this article, he told me that the soldiers got orders to let the people pass into Israel. Why? I don’t know. But he is worried about that one person who may sneak in with those who just want to work — that one person with a weapon or explosives.
Massad says Israel has to take charge of the issuing of permits for work in Israel and not leave it in private hands. My contact on the Facebook page said the same thing.
The system is so crazy that it is easy for both the Israeli employers (I was told that these are mostly Israeli Arabs) and the Palestinian brokers operating in tandem with them to force the workers to pay one-third to one-half of what they earn for the privilege of being issued a permit to work in Israel. Israel takes 800 NIS for the permit and the others skim another 1800 NIS for themselves. The system also allows the employer to avoid paying social benefits to workers.
Were permits to be issued to the workers’ themselves, and by an official Israeli body, Massad argues, both problems would be solved. Then the tens of thousands of illegal workers who sneak across holes in the fence would be more likely to seek and obtain legal work permits and cross into Israel undergoing security checks at regular border points. This would reduce the chance of terrorists getting across alongside those who just want to feed their families.
The Israeli government is well aware of this situation. Why do they not do anything about it?
And another question we need answers for is this: is it really true that the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria want to live decent lives more than they want to die for “Palestine”? l first heard this spoken aloud by Bassem Eid. Now Mohammad Massad is saying it aloud. And my contact on the Facebook page “West Bank Workers in Israel” is now saying it anonymously. Let these voices swell up like a tzunami and we regular Israelis may start to have confidence in that.