2007 August 19 Sunday
Palestinian Children Sneak Into Israel To Beg And Work

Poverty and unemployment for Palestinians on the West Bank has gotten so bad that Palestinian children sneak into Israel to make money as street corner beggars.

NAZARETH, Israel—For 15-year-old Issa, days of summer start when the sun rises over a northern Israeli hill, shining on a garbage dump, a thorny field and then the dirty mattress that is his bed.

Issa is among hundreds of Palestinian child laborers who sneak into Israel from the West Bank, hawking or begging at traffic junctions.

Israel's massive barrier of walls and fences separating it from the West Bank has made it harder for adult laborers to enter Israel, so families wracked by poverty are increasingly sending their children instead.

"Pimps" pay parents to use their children as beggars.

Often Palestinian or Israeli Arab middlemen pay the children's families $250 for the right to take a child into Israel, the advocates said.

These "pimps," as they are called by Israeli authorities, force the children to beg at intersections, take their money at the end of the day and bring them to sleep in rundown apartments, they said. The children return home on weekends, or every few weeks.

"This brings continuous deprivation on the children who do not see their families, do not go to school and never rest," said Salwa Kupti, an Israeli Arab social worker in Nazareth who has worked with the children for 10 years. "The children become machines."

Reality is not pretty.

Palestinian children can enter Israel as long as they are escorted by a Palestinian with a work permit to enter. Also, some sneak in at locations along the barrier where the barrier is not complete yet. So then will the begging decrease as the barrier becomes more developed?

I wonder what the trend is with illegal alien workers in Israel. Are the numbers of Palestinian illegals going up or down?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 August 19 03:34 PM  MidEast Arabs Versus Israelis

Stephen said at August 19, 2007 6:10 PM:

I don't think the concept of 'illegal alien' fits too well when talking about Palestine and Israel - you know, one country, natives expelled, occupied territories and all that jazz.

adrian said at August 20, 2007 3:21 AM:

palestinian birth rates are among the highest in the world, so this problem will only get worse over time.

Wolf-Dog said at August 20, 2007 7:38 AM:

IF the emerging new Palestinian state in West Bank can somehow attain economic viability, then there will probably be peace overall. The fact that political tension between Israel and the Palestinians started a few months after NASDAQ started to decline in the year 2000, was not an accident.

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