Commonwealth Dynamics
Near Ashkelon, Israel, work proceeds on new powerplant, set to open in 2016; the country's booming infrastructure market is generating a worker shortfall.

Facing a construction-worker shortage, Israel will increase by 8,000 the number of Palestinian workers who will be allowed to work inside the country.

Israel’s Defense Ministry said 57,000 Palestinian workers are now legally employed in Israel in the construction, agricultural and industrial sectors. But unofficial estimates put the number of additional Palestinians illegally working in Israel at around 37,000.

The construction-ministry decision also will allow workers from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to work in Israel for the first time in some years.

Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, reconstruction from the summer war with Israel is moving along slowly. 

The Hamas-controlled government blames Israel for allowing in only about 2,000 tons of cement, or about a quarter of what it says is needed.

In cooperation with the United Nations, Israel has imposed a new system to monitor the entry of building materials to guarantee they are not used for rebuilding tunnels.

The sole powerplant in Gaza City resumed partial operation in late October, after repairs restored 92 MW of its 140-MW capacity. The plant was bombed by Israel during the war.