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Israeli police detain Palestinians amid crackdown on undocumented workers

July 18, 2016 8:07 P.M. (Updated: July 19, 2016 12:18 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The ongoing crackdown by Israeli police on undocumented workers in Israel continued on Monday, with at least nine Palestinians being detained between Sunday and Monday, in addition to a number of Israeli employers and foreign workers who were detained.

According to a statement released by Israeli army spokesperson Luba al-Samri, several construction sites were searched in the coastal Israeli town of Atlit on Monday, with Israeli police detaining four workers in their 20s and 30s, which included Palestinians from the occupied West Bank city of Jenin as well as neighboring Jordan.

In a previous statement, al-Samri reported that an undocumented Palestinian worker from the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron went to a police station in the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon to report his own brother for also working illegally in Israel, after the two brothers had a fight.

According to al-Samri, the man told Israeli police that his brother was staying with him “illegally” in an apartment in Ashkelon, and that his brother "moves around carrying a knife that he uses for his work."

In response, Israeli police launched a wide-scale search for the Palestinian man, deploying heavily throughout the Ashkelon and detaining several Palestinian workers that lacked permits.

The brother himself was apprehended and detained early on Monday morning. At least six workers were detained during the search, in addition to Israelis suspected of employing undocumented workers, al-Samri said.

Israeli authorities have imposed a massive crackdown on undocumented workers in Israel, which initially surged 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.

In the wake of a deadly gun attack in Tel Aviv in April, wide-scale raids began anew, detaining dozens of Palestinians, while Israeli authorities also revoked 83,000 permits for Palestinians residing the occupied West Bank to visit Jerusalem and Israel for the holy month of Ramadan.

More recently, some 2,700 residents of the village of Bani Naim in Hebron had their work permits revoked after a series of attacks and alleged attacks were carried out by residents of the village.

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 rights groups.

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