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Israeli police detain 12 undocumented Palestinians in Umm al-Fahm

July 26, 2017 9:53 A.M. (Updated: July 26, 2017 9:53 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli police detained 12 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank district of Jenin while they were in the nearby town of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel on Tuesday night, for lacking the Israeli permits, a police spokeswoman said.
Luba al-Samri wrote in a statement that a driver transporting them, presumably an Israeli citizen, was also arrested and that his car was impounded by police.

The suspects, who were between 20 and 50 years old, were transferred for interrogation. Three of them saw their remands extended after it was revealed, al-Samri said, that they have previously been detained without legal permits to enter Israel.

The driver's remand was also extended until Thursday for further interrogation, according to the statement, that said he was from Umm al-Fahm and in his 50s.

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, 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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