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Israeli police detains dozens of undocumented Palestinian workers across Israel

Jan. 9, 2017 5:56 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 9, 2017 8:07 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli police have detained dozens of undocumented Palestinian workers in the span of two days, along with several Israeli citizens who have been accused of transporting or employing the Palestinians, Israeli police said Monday.

Luba al-Samri said in a statement that a 31-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel from the Negev region was detained Monday morning, along with four Palestinians from the occupied West Bank who he was transporting in his car in the city of Kafr Qasim, east of the Green Line.

She said that police had attempted to pull over a speeding car near the entrance to the town, but the driver continued driving “recklessly” until he rammed his car into an intersection’s roundabout.

Al-Samri added that the four passengers got out of the car and started to escape on foot, but police were able to apprehend them.

She said the four Palestinians were workers in their 20s from Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank. They were taken in for interrogation along with the driver, whose driver’s license was revoked.
(Photo: Israeli police)
In a later statement on Monday, al-Samri said that Israeli police had detained dozens of undocumented Palestinian workers over the past two days in northern Israel, in addition to six Palestinian shop owners with Israeli citizenship who were accused of employing the Palestinians in their stores or providing accommodation to the undocumented workers.

She said the majority of the detained Palestinians were from Jenin in the northern West Bank and al-Dhahiriya in the south.

Furthermore, nine Palestinians were detained in the northern Israeli village of Deir al-Asad after Israeli police raided an apartment where they were staying, al-Samri said, adding that the homeowner was detained.

An Israeli magistrate’s court in Acre is scheduled to extend their remand.

Additionally, seven Palestinians were detained in a house in Nazareth. The owner of the house was also arrested.

She said 26 Palestinians were detained on Sunday along with three Palestinian citizens of Israel suspected of employing them, and two others suspected of providing residences.

Israeli police also detained 19 Palestinians who were working in bakeries in the cities of Kafr Kanna, al-Mashhad, and Nazareth. The bakery owners were detained as well.

An Israeli court also extended the remand of 22 Palestinians, as well as their employers and those who sheltered them.

Palestinian residents of the West Bank are not allowed to access occupied East Jerusalem or Israel without an Israel-issued permit. A number of Palestinians have been shot and injured while allegedly trying to cross into Jerusalem to work.

Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers are forced to seek a living by working in Israel due to crippling unemployment in the West Bank, as the growth of an independent Palestinian economy has been stifled under the ongoing Israeli military occupation, according to rights groups.

Israeli authorities have imposed a massive crackdown on undocumented workers in Israel in recent months, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alleging last March that since a wave of violence began last fall “a large proportion of (Palestinian) attackers were present in Israel illegally or infiltrated into Israel illegally.”
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