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49 Palestinians arrested in southern Israel sweep

April 12, 2014 6:25 P.M. (Updated: April 13, 2014 11:10 A.M.)
BEERSHEBA (Ma'an) -- Israeli police forces have launched a "wide campaign" of arrests in southern Israel against Palestinians in the country without permits in the lead up to the Easter holiday.

The police department of the Lakhish regional council of southern Israel said in a statement that in the last week 49 Palestinians had been arrested in the sweeps, including 28 at a construction site in Ashdod, 18 in Kiryat Gat, two in Ashkelon and one in Sderot.

Lakhish regional council police spokesperson Lior Ben-Simon said in a statement that all of the detainees had been brought to the police station in Ashdod for further investigation.

Ben-Simon added that the majority of the detained were from the southern West Bank region of Hebron and were between the ages of 24 and 34.

Nearly 100,000 Palestinians work in Israel, attracted by the prospect of wages substantially higher than those available in the occupied territories.

Permits, however, are notoriously difficult to attain, and as a result large numbers of Palestinians work without the appropriate documentation.

According to a report released by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in October, 34,600 of all Palestinians working in Israel lack a permit to do so.

At the end of January 2014, 1,415 Palestinians were being held in prison for being in Israel without permits, according to Israel human rights organization B'tselem.

According to labor rights group Kav LaOved, strict quotas are maintained by Israel for Palestinian workers, and even those with permits often spend hours waiting at crowded military checkpoints and are restricted from using Israeli public transportation.
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