A glimpse at the risks Palestinians take to get to work in Israel.

If you're Palestinian, you have two options for crossing into Israel for work. You can endure a lengthy wait at a military checkpoint, or you go sneak in illegally, finding your way through the separation barrier on the West Bank.

Nearly a decade ago, the Israeli government responded to a string of terrorist attacks by placing severe restrictions on the mobility of Palestinian workers. According to a Reuters report, more than 30,000 Palestinian laborers work illegally in Israel, with laborers paying drivers to take them to crossable sections of the fence while fearing arrest.

Reuters photographer Ammar Awad documented both the legal and illegal commutes from the West Bank into Israel recently.  What he found were stressful, time-consuming treks. But the difference between pay for jobs in Palestine and Israel still make it worthwhile for these laborers:
 
Taysir Sharif Abu Hader, a 57-year-old Palestinian who has a permit to work in Israel, starts his journey to Israel from the West Bank town of Qalqilya June 30, 2013. (Ammar Awad/Reuters) 


Palestinian laborers who have permits to work in Israel wait to cross into Israel at Eyal checkpoint near the West Bank town of Qalqilya June 30, 2013. (Ammar Awad/Reuters)

A man tries to get ahead of the long queue by climbing on the roof of a walkway as Palestinians wait to cross into Jerusalem next to Israel's controversial barrier at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank town of Bethlehem July 7, 2013.

(Ammar Awad/Reuters)


A man tries to get ahead of the long queue by climbing on a fence as Palestinians wait to cross into Jerusalem next to Israel's controversial barrier at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank town of Bethlehem July 7, 2013. (Ammar Awad/Reuters)

Palestinians wait to cross into Jerusalem at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank town of Bethlehem July 7, 2013.

(Ammar Awad/Reuters)

Palestinians wait to cross into Jerusalem at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank town of Bethlehem July 7, 2013.

(Ammar Awad/Reuters)


A Palestinian coffee vendor waits for costumers at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank town of Bethlehem June 23, 2013. (Ammar Awad/Reuters)

Palestinian laborers with permits to work in Israel, wait for transport after crossing into Israel at Eyal checkpoint near the West Bank town of Qalqilya June 27, 2013.

(Ammar Awad/Reuters)

Palestinian laborers  who have permits to work in Israel, sleep as they wait for transport after crossing into Israel at Eyal checkpoint near the West Bank town of Qalqilya June 27, 2013.

(Ammar Awad/Reuters)


Palestinian laborers from the West Bank illegally cross Israel's barrier in the southern West Bank June 22, 2013. (Ammar Awad/Reuters)

Palestinian laborers from the West Bank wait for a car to pick them up after illegally crossing Israel's barrier in the southern West Bank July 7, 2013.

(Ammar Awad/Reuters)


Palestinian laborers from the West Bank run after illegally crossing Israel's barrier in the southern West Bank near the southern city of Beersheba June 22, 2013. (Ammar Awad/Reuters)

Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian laborers from the West Bank after they illegally crossed Israel's barrier near the southern city of Beersheba June 22, 2013.

(Ammar Awad/Reuters)

A Palestinian worker from a town in the West Bank, who does not have a permit to work in Israel, arranges the mattress where he sleeps on a construction site near Tel Aviv July 11, 2013.

(Ammar Awad/Reuters)

About the Author

Mark Byrnes
Mark Byrnes

Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design, history, and photography.

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