Shortly after we completed filming this video, the breaches along the entire length of the fences were suddenly mended. These breaches, known to one and all, had been ignored 24 hours a day for at least the last 3-4 years. Terrorist acts in Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak and Elad led to swift action to seal the breaches probably for fear that the defense establishment would be severely criticized for allowing active passage.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT IN THE SEPARATION FENCE
WORK PERMIT QUOTA INCREASED
The free movement through the breaches enabled a significant number of Palestinians to work in Israel and facilitated Israel's growing dependence on cheap labor (with or without labor rights). After the army closed off the breaches in the fences, the occupation authorities deviated from the strict permit policy. The 100,000 quota for workers was increased by 20,000. The authorities also began issuing longer term permits for those seeking work and lowered the age of single young people that could apply for work in Israel (see table below). This is a welcome economic change for many Palestinian families.
OVERCROWDING AT THE CHECKPOINTS
Once again, the checkpoints returned to being the gateway to earning a livelihood. Officials at the checkpoints are struggling to manage the growing numbers of Palestinians who need to cross at critical times of the day. Many Palestinians are trying to clear their blacklisting status (many of unknown origin) so that they can apply for a work permit (many with the bureaucratic assistance of MachsomWatch volunteer team).
SHOOT IF YOU HAVE TO
Firing orders have been updated, allowing shooting knee height or below at Palestinians who damage the fence. This order resulted in two killings of unarmed workers. One Palestinian killed was 53-year-old Nabil Ganam, who had been working for 35 years without a permit in Rosh HaAyin. He was shot in the back. It is unclear if these orders will remain in effect.
There have not been any reports on an increased number of illegal workers having been caught in Israel. The solution for this issue is also delayed. Palestinians report that there are new breaches in fences along the southern West Bank.
WHO WILL WIN IN THIS TUG WAR?
We are waiting to see who will come out the victor. Will it be the economic dependence on labor provided by the Palestinian residents of the West Bank or the security needs of Israel which the fence ostensibly serves?
And we wonder when the Palestinians will finally be granted the human rights and political stability, which are their due.