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April 2001, Volume 8, Number 4

Israel: Migrants

Israel has prevented Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip from working in the country for over 12 months, but the violence that led to the migration ban has not halted. Since the latest wave of violence that began in September 2000, Palestinians are accused of 3,600 shooting attacks against Israeli civilians, soldiers and vehicles, and 200 roadside bombings; 334 Palestinians, 61 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs have been killed since September 29, 2001.

Airport closures, road blockades and other measures cost the Palestinian economy an estimated $1 billion, and Israel is withholding about $56 million in taxes, customs duties and other money it collects on the Palestinian Authority's behalf.

As the Palestinian Authority neared financial collapse in March 2001, prompting the 22-member Arab League to offer $40 million a month to enable the authority to pay its bills. About a fifth of the West Bank and two-thirds of the Gaza Strip are fully controlled by the Palestinian Authority, which has a40,000-member armed police and security force.

High-tech. Israel's chief scientist said that a manpower shortage will be the top challenge facing the high-tech sector in the next ten years. Israel plans to start a training program with the aim of graduating 10,000 engineers a year, up from the current 5,000. The government also plans to selectively import high-tech workers, giving them two-year visas and requiring them to depart after two years.

Jonathan Krashinsky, "Sharon pledges to take in million more Jews," Jerusalem Post, March 13, 2001.