Conflicts & War

Palestinian workers from Gaza displaced in West Bank without option of return

By Joan Mas Autonell

Bethlehem, West Bank, Oct 20 (EFE).- The lives of Palestinians in Gaza employed in Israeli territory took a turn after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by the Islamist group Hamas.

Thousands of these workers had their work permits annulled and were displaced to the West Bank, without the option of returning to the Gaza Strip.

“I want to go back (to my family) to live and die together,” Fuad, a worker from the Gazan city of Khan Younis, told EFE.

After the war started, he left the metallurgical workshop in the city of Modin where he was employed and moved to the occupied West Bank, like many other Palestinians who were among the 17,000 Gazans with employment permits in Israel.

Fuad, 64, had left his wife and two children to look for work in Israel. “The situation in Gaza was very difficult before the war, there was no money and no aid,” he said.

However, the current war “is the worst of all,” said Fuad, who now lost his job and left him stranded in the occupied West Bank separated from his family, threatened by bombs.

“The moment I can enter Gaza, I’ll go there,” he said from a community center in the Deheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem city, where he’s staying with nearly two hundred other Gaza Palestinians who now have nowhere to go.

They are currently receiving help from the locals, who have organized themselves to help them with food, clothing, mattresses and logistical support.

A similar situation exists in many other parts of the West Bank, such as the cities of Ramallah, Jericho, Nablus and Hebron, where thousands of Gazatians are sheltered in university centers, public pavilions, hotels and family homes.

“The people and local authorities take care of them,” Palestinian analyst Jamal Zakout told EFE, while estimating some 10,000-15,000 Gaza workers displaced over the West Bank.

“Israel fired and canceled work permits for all Gazans who worked there,” despite the fact that Israeli authorities rigorously reviewed their cases to dismiss ties with Hamas or political or armed factions in Gaza, he underlined.

“We don’t know what will happen or what will become of us,” another Gaza worker, who did not reveal his identity, told EFE. He left his job at a clothing store in Tel Aviv two weeks ago to go to the West Bank on the recommendation of the company’s bosses.

After reaching Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), he was referred to the Deheisha camp in Bethlehem, where he has been spending time worrying about his wife and six children as relentless Israeli bombings continued in the Gaza Strip.

Some 3,800 deaths have been recorded so far in the Gaza Strip so far.

Like other Gazans, the 50-year-old feared he was no longer safe in Israel after the Hamas attack, unprecedented in the country’s 75-year history, and since which more than 1,400 people have died in the Jewish land.

“There was fear, we feared revenge,” added Fuad, who believed the current war may take time, but “nothing will be the same again,” neither for Israel nor for the Palestinians in Gaza. EFE


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