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Israeli police detains 27 undocumented Palestinian workers in Haifa

May 16, 2017 10:31 A.M. (Updated: May 16, 2017 2:33 P.M.)
An undocumented Palestinian worker is detained in Israel on May 16, 2017. (Credit: Israeli police)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli police detained 27 undocumented Palestinian workers during a raid at a construction site in the city of Haifa in northern Israel on Monday night.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said that the workers, who did not have permits to enter Israel, were detained in the Ramot Denya area while they were sleeping in wooden huts near the construction site.

The 27 Palestinians were taken in for questioning.

Palestinian residents of the West Bank are not allowed to access occupied East Jerusalem or Israel without an Israeli-issued permit, and many risk being shot and injured while trying to cross into Israel 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 the past year and a half, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming in March 2016 that “a large proportion of (Palestinian) attackers were present in Israel illegally or infiltrated into Israel illegally” since the beginning of a wave of violence in the fall of 2015.

Similarly, al-Samri said on Tuesday that undocumented workers represented a “great danger… for public safety.”

However, few Palestinians attackers were in fact workers in Israel, and the recent crackdown on undocumented workers has been condemned by rights groups as a political game, unlikely to affect the violence yet economically harmful to both Palestinians and Israelis.
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