Palestinian business people have not driven their personal cars into Israel since the start of the Second Intifada in 2000, when Israel banned their entry as a part of its crackdown on the largely armed uprising. The intifada ended more than a decade ago.
“This is very important for us,” Jamal al-Nimr, a Palestinian businessman from Ramallah, who was granted a permit, told the Post. “Time is money for us. We need to be able to move around quickly, especially when we travel to Israel to meet with Israeli businessmen, authorities, and others.”
“Before, I had to hire a chauffeur at the cost of 800-1000 Shekels a day,” Nimr remarked. “Now, all I have to pay for is the fuel.”
Wahdan said that after Israel approved a proposal to allow a limited number of business people to enter Israel in their own cars, the Federation of Palestinian Chambers of Commerce chose 270 business people to apply for permits.
The PA Civil Affairs Ministry then forwarded the list to the Coordinator of Government Affairs in the Territories (COGAT), which approved it, according to Wahdan.
However, the businessmen have to wait until the end of Passover next week to enter Israel, as the IDF has banned Palestinians except for humanitarian cases from coming to Israel during the holiday. The IDF holds that the risk of attacks on Israelis increases during holidays.
Wahdan added that he hopes additional permits will be provided to other Palestinians who work in Israel.
“We always are calling for more Palestinians to be granted [such] permits,” Wahdan said.
The permits for the business people come two weeks after Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is arranging a number of “goodwill gestures” for the Palestinians at the behest of US President Donald Trump.
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