Ahmad Soboh, the Undersecretary of the Palestinian Authority Foreign Office, called for an immediate stop to the brain drain from PA-controlled Judea and Samaria (Yesha).
Soboh was speaking at an October 31 press conference organized by Shaml: The Palestinian Diaspora and Refugee Centre. The event highlighted the out-migration of Arabs from Judea and Samaria, which has been coupled with Israeli-imposed obstacles to residency requests by Arabs who wish to work, invest and live in areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority.
Soboh cited the fact that 10,000 residency applications by PA Arabs have been accepted by various Western countries in the past four months. Another 40,000 are on file. Most are university graduates or potential immigrants able to invest financially in their new country, he said, translating into a hemorrhaging loss for the remaining Arab population.
The emigration stems from a dissatisfaction over the current Hamas-led government. Because of the international aid boycott of the Palestinian Authority, some 165,000 civil servants have not been paid a regular salary since January when Hamas was elected. Those government employees and their families - they provide for one-third of the PA's population - have fallen into poverty. Compounding that hardship, day-to-day life has been disrupted by widespread strikes and armed clashes between Hamas and Fatah gunmen.