The Knesset on Wednesday authorized on its second and third readings a law that codifies the criminalization of transporting “illegal workers” from the Palestinian Authority within Israel. The law specifies fines and jail time for such offenses under certain circumstances. According to the emergency order, any Israeli who transport a Palestinian worker without the appropriate documentation into Israeli territory, inside the 1948 armistice lines or within the security fence in the occupied Palestinian territories, could be subject to arrest and detention.
According to the measure, now codified in the law, drivers are required to ask passengers for identification if there is a suspicion that they are illegal Palestinian workers. MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) said that the law would encourage racism. “The only way taxi drivers will be able to guess in advance who is problematic is by looking at the color of their skin, or whether they have a certain ‘look.’ This is unacceptable. It is unfair to dump the responsibility for this on taxi drivers.”