August 16, 2012 - 12:00am

The Israeli government will increase the quota of Palestinian construction workers allowed to enter Israel within a few weeks, local news outlets reported Wednesday.

The reports said the Israeli government agreed to allow up to 30,000 workers to enter its country as a move of assistance to the financially-crippled Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

In July, the Israeli government aided the PNA with 180 million shekels (45 million U.S. dollars) in light of its severe financial situation.

Israeli officials told Walla news website that this measure, following an increment of 5,000 Palestinian construction workers last month, is also in the security interests of Israel.

The raise of quota was discussed during several meetings held by Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the head of the Population and Borders Authority (PIBA), Amnon Ben Ami.

Another reason behind this measure is the expulsion of nearly 1, 000 foreign migrants from Africa, which led to a shortage in construction workers in Israel.

In recent months, the Interior Ministry applied the "Going Home " plan, devised by Interior Minister Eli Yishai.

The plan is to repatriate 50,000 African migrants, and nearly 1, 000 migrants from South Sudan and the Ivory Coast have been deported and another 1,000 were detained in PIBA facilities.

The PIBA authorities, in charge of policing illegal migrants, told the website that they prefer Palestinian workers over workers from other countries, since they are less likely to settle down in Israel.

Moreover, The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday that the number of Palestinian workers from the West Bank employed in Israel increased from 77,000 in the first quarter to 80,000 in the second quarter. However, figures from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics indicate that only 41,000 held lawful entry permits.


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