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Israeli police seal construction site for 'hosting illegal comers to Israel'

May 30, 2017 5:52 P.M. (Updated: May 31, 2017 2:43 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities have ordered for a “massive” construction site in the Jerusalem area to be shut down for seven days, after Israeli police said it discovered undocumented Palestinian workers on the site twice over the past month.

Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a written statement in Arabic on Wednesday that the order was issued by the Israeli commander of the Jerusalem district Yahoram Halevi against the site, which located in Tzur HaDassah, an Israeli community located a short distance north of the southern occupied West Bank village of Wadi Fukin in the Bethlehem district and the adjacent illegal Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit.

Tzur HaDassah lies just west of the Green Line beside the planned path for Israel’s illegal separation wall, a segment yet to be constructed.

“Nine seal orders for workshops and stores were signed by the commander since the beginning of the year as they hosted illegal comers to Israel,” al-Samri’s statement read.

“The Israeli police’s strict campaigns and procedures (against undocumented workers) also include their employers and those who transport or provide these illegal comers with rides and accommodation,” her statement concluded.

Under Israel’s permit regime, 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 recent months, 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.

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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