Palestinian Arab workers in Jerusalem (illust
Palestinian Arab workers in Jerusalem (illustIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Israel must deal with the problem of illegal entry now, before it leads to another murder, MK Motti Yogev (Jewish Home) has warned.

Yogev is urging support for a proposal that would seek to deal with illegal entry through harsher punishments for Israeli citizens who transport illegal entrants, hire them as workers, or rent them housing.

Multiple recent terrorist attacks have been carried out by Palestinian Arabs from Judea and Samaria who were in central Israel as illegal workers, including the murders of young IDF soldiers Tomer Hazan and Eden Attias, and a bombing on a Tel Aviv bus.

Additional attacks were planned by illegal entrants, but were thwarted by security forces before they could be put into action.

An estimated 100,000 of the 1.6-2.2 million Palestinian Arabs living in Palestinian Authority-controlled parts of Judea and Samaria (Shomron) enter Israeli towns and cities each day for work. The mass entry is spurred by high unemployment and low wages in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas.

Roughly half of the entrants have work permits; the other 50,000 enter illegally, whether by taking advantage of weak points in the Judea and Samaria security barrier, or with the help of Israeli citizens - or simply by taking the bus.

Yogev explained that he is not against employing Palestinian Arabs, but that for safety reasons, it should be done via legal routes. “In the current reality, it would be right to increase the number of work permits on the one hand, and on the other hand, to enforce entry laws regarding Palestinians whose entry would pose a real threat,” he said.

“The purpose of the law is to give the security system, the police and the courts an additional tool to fight the phenomenon of illegal entry and the danger illegal entrants pose to Israel’s citizens,” he added.

The new law would redefine the employment of illegal entrants, or housing illegal entrants, as a more serious crime, and would allow judges to sentence transgressors to up to four years in prison and a larger fine than the current limit.