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Israel approves 5,000 work permits for Palestinians
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09:30, April 14, 2008

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Israeli cabinet approved on Sunday 5,000 work permits for Palestinian construction workers as a step of easing movement in the West Bank.

The permits would be given on condition regarding regular security standards, according to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

The permits come as part of the good gestures offered by Barak to Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

There are currently altogether 20,000 Palestinians working legally in Israel with 14,000 of them employed in the construction sector. Israeli Construction and Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim said the decision was due to the lack of Israeli laborers.

Last month, Barak assured Rice during her Mideast visit that he would take serious steps towards implementing the proposed easements, including the removal of some West Bank checkpoints, the delivery of 25 armored vehicles to Palestinian security forces, the easing of movement restrictions on senior PA officials.

Barak also proposed bringing 700 Palestinian police officers into Jenin, and removing roadblocks which obstruct routes between the West Bank cities of Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqilya and Ramallah.


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