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Israeli police detain 12 undocumented Palestinian workers in Israel

June 11, 2016 12:47 P.M. (Updated: June 13, 2016 10:28 A.M.)
(MaanImages/File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli police detained 12 Palestinians Friday on two construction sites in Petah Tikva in central Israel, for working without permits, Israeli police said.

Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement the 12 Palestinians were taken in for interrogation.

She added Israeli authorities also placed the owners of the two construction companies “under suspension” for hiring the Palestinians, and that they are also being investigated.

The owners of the construction sites were ordered to pay a security deposit of 50,000 shekels (approximately $12,939) to ensure they do not hire undocumented workers in the future.

They were also ordered to implement 24-hour security measures on construction sites, assign someone to check workers’ IDs, and install surveillance cameras to document the security and protection of the two sites, al-Samri added.

The incident comes amid massive crackdown on undocumented workers in Israel, which initially followed a deadly attack in the Israeli port of Jaffa in March carried out by a Palestinian who had illegally crossed the border out of the occupied West Bank.

The arrests also come in the wake of a shooting attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday that left four Israelis dead, after which Israel has imposed severe punitive measures across the occupied Palestinian territory in what the UN said could amount to collective punishment.

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 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 Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem.

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