‘A Ticket to Freedom’: Gaza’s rush for work permits in Israel

October 8, 2021 by Baruch Yedid - TPS
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Hundreds of residents of the Gaza Strip lined up on Wednesday night near the Central District Chamber of Commerce building in the Gaza Strip to be the first in line to receive 2,500 permits for work and trade with Israel, after 4,500 lucky Gazans have already managed to obtain permits and left for Israel.

Gazans in line for work permits in Israel. (Majdi Fathi/TPS)

Earlier in the day, many thousands gathered and lined up to receive the coveted permits. About two months ago, Israel approved further relief for the residents of the Gaza Strip and granted them 7,000 trade permits. 4,500 permits have already been issued to those eligible, but now more than 10,500 Gazans are trying to obtain unassigned permits.

On Thursday morning, the Khan Yunis Chamber of Commerce announced that it would no longer accept applications except through the Internet, due to the overwhelming number of applicants.

In the Gaza Strip, where the unemployment rate stands at 65%, according to one estimate, there are already expressions of ridicule towards the Hamas regime, given the degrading scenes of Gaza residents fighting each other in huge queues, for the right to work in Israel, which only five months ago was under Hamas fire.

Residents of the Gaza Strip mock Hamas and state that “it is responsible for humiliating the residents. The people flee the Gaza Strip after 14 years through the Erez checkpoint, if only to reach Israel, which Hamas claimed to be a defeated entity.”

“This seems to be Hamas’ biggest victory in 14 years since the gates were closed to workers,” said one Gaza resident.

Another resident, a doctor at one of the hospitals, said “Gaza residents now prefer the Chamber of Commerce room over the joint operations room where only the 14 Palestinian [terror] factions are employed.

“If the crossings were open until tonight, there would be no one left in the Gaza Strip except the children of Ismail Haniya, who should not work in Israel anyway,” said a Gaza resident. “This is what Hamas and Tehran did to our people,”

Only residents aged 26 to 60, unmarried and vaccinated against the Coronavirus are allowed to obtain the trade permits but many thousands are trying nonetheless.

“This is a ticket to freedom,” a Gaza resident explained.

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