Israel Weighs Plan to Deport 45,000 Illegal Foreign Workers

Israel hopes to deport tens of thousands of foreign workers and phase back the employment of some 45,000 Palestinians this year, according to an Israeli newspaper.

Under the proposal, to be presented to government officials this week, some 45,000 foreign workers will be expelled by August, the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot reported Tuesday.

The government has estimated that there are some 250,000 foreign workers in Israel, half of whom are here illegally.

They were first brought in three years ago to replace Palestinians who were kept from their jobs within Israel after closures were imposed on the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the wake of terrorist attacks.

Palestinian officials have complained that the restrictions on Palestinian workers cost the self-rule economy about $6 million per day.

The plan to reinstate the Palestinian workers would depend on security conditions, Yediot reported.

Under the plan, Palestinian workers would be driven to their jobs on buses and the Palestinian Authority would be responsible for choosing those Palestinians who could work in Israel, the newspaper added.

Some 50,000 Palestinians are now allowed to work inside Israel.

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