Thousands of Gazan employees who work in Israel or the West Bank are entering the Gaza Strip this Friday after Israeli Prime Minister Beniamin Netanyahu assured that Israel was going to cut “all contact” with the coastal enclave, according to the Reuters agency. , which cites witnesses located on the border. “Gaza workers who were in Israel on the day the war broke out will be returned to Gaza,” the prime minister’s office announced yesterday. The Israeli security cabinet added that Tel Aviv will no longer accept “Palestinian workers from Gaza.”
According to Reuters, some of those expelled are crossing the Kerem Shalom crossing from Egypt, at the southern end of the strip, very close to the Rafah crossing. The measure affects more than 18,000 Gazans who had permission to cross into Israel to work when the Hamas attacks in southern Israel occurred on October 7.
The measure affects more than 18,000 Gazans who had permission to work in Israel
The workers who crossed into the Palestinian enclave claimed to have been detained and mistreated by Israeli authorities following the attack by the Islamist group’s terrorists. Some still wore plastic stickers with numbers around their legs.
“We used to serve them, work for them, in houses, restaurants and markets in exchange for the lowest prices and, despite this, they humiliated us,” said Jamal Ismail, one of the workers, from the Maghazi refugee camp in the center of the Gaza Strip.
We used to serve them (…) in exchange for the lowest prices and, despite this, they humiliated us
Several human rights organizations had warned a few days ago that hundreds of these workers were missing. Some were illegally detained in military facilities located in Ofer and Sde Teyman, located in the occupied West Bank, after their work permits were revoked, the NGO HaMoked alerted Al Jazeera last week. About 400 people contacted this organization to try to locate their relatives.
The situation of the detained Palestinians came to worry the Israeli Ministry of Justice, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. One of the Gazans who was released explained that the workers were held in overcrowded “cage-like” compounds, handcuffed and blindfolded, and denied meeting with their lawyers or Red Cross representatives.
Many other employees were simply trapped in the West Bank and were housed by its residents, as was the case in a facility in Tarqumia, Hebron, where about twenty of them lived.