Palestinians in Israel: Crossing Borders
Nearly 50,000 Palestinians officially work in Israel, while around 30,000 cross the border illegally every day from the West Bank to work. Israel does not make it easy for either group.
Day begins before dawn: Taysir Abu Sharif Hader is one of 47,000 Palestinians with an official work permit who cross the border from the West Bank every day. Every morning before sunrise, he makes his way to the Qalqilya checkpoint to get to his job in Israel.
Long wait: The Palestinians who work legally in Israel have to be patient at the border crossing. But they don't have a choice - there is little work in the West Bank. And if they do find it, they can expect to make only about a quarter of the wages available in Israel.
Early start: Palestinians have the opportunity to cross the border from 4 to 6 am. During this time, it's not uncommon for angry scuffles to break out among the workers if a gate at the border terminal isn't opened, or if the process takes too long.
Interdependence: In 2000, more than 160,000 Palestinians worked in Israel. But Israel is dependent on the workforce, a fact that became particularly evident in 2001.
Fewer work permits since 2001: The Israeli government knows all too well that its agriculture sector needs Palestinian workers. After a suicide attack in mid-2001, all Palestinians were initially barred from entering the country. But the government subsequently decided to allow 5,000 farm laborers back across the border - just in time for the olive harvest.
Buses waiting in Israel Some 47,000 Palestinians with official work permits make the daily commute from the West Bank. After crossing the border, they are bused to their workplaces.
Lower income: Guest workers from the West Bank earn around 50 percent of the salary of an Israeli worker. That represents a significant saving for Israeli entrepreneurs, and for Palestinians it is still more financially rewarding than a job at home.
Illegal workers earn less: In addition to the almost 50,000 legal workers, there are also around 30,000 Palestinians who cross the border illegally. They earn about a quarter of an Israeli salary.
In danger: Israeli army patrols repeatedly pick up illegal border crossers. They're usually sent back the same day. Being caught makes it even more difficult for Palestinians to get an official work permit.