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Israeli police round up Palestinian workers in Negev slaughterhouse

March 28, 2016 11:36 A.M. (Updated: March 28, 2016 9:28 P.M.)
NEGEV (Ma’an) -- Israeli police raided a chicken slaughterhouse in the Bedouin town of Shaqib al-Salam in the southern Israel region of Negev at dawn on Monday and rounded up scores of Palestinians from the West Bank who were working there without permits.

One of the workers told Ma'an that around 100 Israeli police officers stormed the Oof Ooz slaughterhouse and rounded up more than 100 workers.

The workers were then taken in buses to an Israeli police station before being sent back to the occupied West Bank.

"Police officers had very precise information about the place and they inspected every corner where workers could be," the worker said, implying that the raid was made based on information received by sources within the slaughterhouse.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri confirmed that Israeli police and border police entered a poultry factory in Shaqib al-Salam and detained 41 Palestinian workers without official work permits. The workers included minors aged 15 or older.

An executive at the the slaughterhouse was also taken in for questioning, al-Samri said.

In a separate incident, al-Samri said Israeli police detained 13 Palestinian workers without permits and a contractor on a construction site in Beit Shemesh west of Jerusalem on Monday afternoon.

Earlier this month, Israeli security forces began a massive crackdown on undocumented workers, detaining at least 250 Palestinians without work permits on March 10 alone.

Large-scale raids against undocumented workers have occurred in the wake of attacks against Israelis committed by Palestinians working in Israel illegally.

Al-Samri added that Israeli police were continuing "intensive campaigns" to end the "phenomenon of hiring workers without legal permits." The police campaign has included legal procedures against employers, as well as those who transport workers without permits and provide them with housing.

Palestinians who seek to work in Israel need a special work permit usually granted by the Israeli Civil Administration in coordination with the Israeli Ministry of Labor, but such permits are difficult to obtain.

The Bank of Israel reported in March that the number of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank working in Israel -- legally and illegally -- doubled in the past four years.

Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers are forced to seek a living by working in Israel as the growth of an independent Palestinian economy has been stifled in the West Bank under the ongoing Israeli military occupation, according to Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem.

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