Israel Plans To Import Foreign Labor
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said Sunday he plans to import thousands of foreign workers, eliminating the need for Palestinian labor from West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The plan probably will anger Palestinians - whose economy depends on the income of wage earners in Israel - and cause another setback in peace talks on extending Gaza’s self-rule into the West Bank.
Rabin told 400 American Jewish fundraisers that replacing Palestinians with foreign labor would improve security for most Israelis but create more danger for Jewish settlers living in Palestinian areas.
“In four months, I can bring in 20,000 to 25,000 workers, … and there will be no need for any Palestinians in the territories to come to Israel,” Rabin said.
About 65,000 laborers from abroad, mostly from Thailand and Romania, now work in Israel. Israeli officials have set a target of 90,000. About 70,000 Palestinians worked in Israel before the closure imposed Jan. 22 after a bombing that killed 21 Israelis.
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