Increasing Numbers of Arabs Working in Israel

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- With unemployment hovering just below 21 percent in areas under Palestinian control, both in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Gaza Strip, increasing numbers of Palestinian Arabs are finding employment in Israel.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of workers employed in Israel and in Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria increased from 77,000 in the first quarter of 2012 to 80,000 in the second quarter, the semi-official WAFA news agency reported.

Despite the Palestinian Authority's ban against working in Israeli "settlements," those numbers increased from 13,000 to 15,000 between the first and second quarters of 2012.

The PCBS says 41,000 of these workers have a work permit, 22,000 are without a permit, and about 17,000 have either an Israeli ID card -- meaning they probably live in predominantly Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem -- or a foreign passport, which would most likely be Jordanian.

Nearly 60 percent have found work in the construction sector, according to the PCBS report.

Meanwhile, Israel has steadily reduced the number of roadblocks from areas under Palestinian Authority control from more than 40 in 2008 to 10.

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