Feature: Gazans working in Israel wish for peace to secure jobs

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 26, 2022
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by Sanaa Kamal

GAZA, April 26 (Xinhua) -- In the predawn hours of Tuesday, thousands of Gazans gathered in front of the Israel-controlled Erez Crossing in the north of the Palestinian coastal enclave, waiting to enter Israel through the crossing for work after its two days of closure.

The Israeli authorities closed the crossing on Sunday to Palestinians working inside its territory in response to rockets firing from the Gaza Strip into Israeli towns adjacent to the enclave.

The entry was resumed on Tuesday after an assessment of the security situation, according to Ghassan Alyan, coordinator of Israeli government activities in the Palestinian territories.

"The opening of the crossing for the merchants and workers and other civilians from the Gaza Strip is conditional on continuing to maintain security stability in the region," he said in a statement sent to Xinhua.

Ibrahim Al-Najjar, a resident of Khan Yunis city in southern Gaza, expressed happiness that he would be able to return to his work in Haifa, a city in northern Israel, saying he was afraid of "losing his only source of livelihood."

"For many years, I had been unemployed. In that period, I suffered a lot from extreme poverty, especially since I was not able to provide the minimum requirements of living for my children," the 45-year-old father of eight told Xinhua.

The situation completely changed after he was permitted to work in Israel where he could make about 100 U.S. dollars a day, said Al-Najjar, noting this amount of money is enough to save his family from poverty and hunger.

Nevertheless, the fear and worry of becoming jobless again still haunts him, especially after the closing of the Erez Crossing.

"When the crossing is closed, I would rather stay at my work inside Israel even if it means a long time separation from my family. I will never risk my family's life and make them suffer from poverty once again," the Palestinian man said.

Al-Najjar hopes for a complete end to the "political and military" rivalries between the Israeli army and the armed Palestinian factions so that he can work in Israel without worries.

The situation is not much different for Tahseen al-Masri, a resident of the town of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza who was also waiting at the crossing to enter Israel for work.

"We are civilian workers who have nothing to do with military activities ... We need to work to support our families and provide them with food and drink without having to ask anyone for help," the 50-year-old father of five told Xinhua.

Gaza shouldn't get involved in any military tension with Israel but needs to "work on its reconstruction, revive its economy and allow its residents to live in safety without any fear of death at any moment," al-Masri said.

In 2019, Gazan residents were allowed to apply for work in Israel for the first time. In October 2021, Israel raised the quota of work permits available to Gazans from 7,000 to 10,000, and then, in late March 2022, to 20,000.

According to Palestinian and Israeli estimates, about 12,000 Gazans are entering Israel to work there, each earning between 120 dollars and 150 dollars a day.

On Saturday, the Israeli Army Radio announced that Israel had decided to implement an "economic" response, instead of a military one, to the rocket fire from the besieged Gaza Strip.

The radio indicated that closing the Erez Crossing for one day equals a loss of about 1,600,000 dollars. Enditem

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