Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday that he will offer at least 20,001 jobs in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip to Palestinians.
The jobs will be offered to Palestinians in the sectors of tourism, hospitality, agriculture, food, and manufacturing.
“The new government will establish a new social welfare and economic program for the Palestinian people,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister is expected to announce the details of the new program at a Cabinet meeting next week.
The move comes after Netanyahu’s government failed to win support for his proposed “right of return” bill.
The bill, which would grant Palestinians citizenship and the right to vote, was defeated by a mere 3.4 percent of voters in November, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
The vote was a clear setback for Netanyahu, who campaigned on a promise to “break the stranglehold of radical Islamic terrorism” and to end the decades-long occupation of the West Bank.
In 2015, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that Israel should not grant citizenship to Palestinians, even if they were born in Israel.
In November, the U.S. State Department said that it was reviewing Israeli legislation that would grant citizenship rights to Palestinians born in the Westbank and Gaza.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights also issued a statement calling for an end to Israeli violations of Palestinian rights.
In December, a group of international human rights groups sent a letter to Netanyahu urging him to end his policies of ethnic cleansing and apartheid.
“Israel has a history of discrimination and violence against Palestinians, including through forced displacements and the systematic targeting of Palestinians for political, social, economic, and other forms of violence,” the letter read.
“For decades, the Israeli government has systematically discriminated against Palestinians in its attempts to maintain the control over the occupied territories and the settlements.”
In 2015 alone, the state of Israel demolished more than 200 Palestinian homes in the Palestinian territory, displacing nearly 3,000 people, according the Palestinian Center for Human rights.
More than 7,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, according in 2014.
Israel also maintains an illegal “buffer zone” in the Occupied West Bank, which it calls the “Green Line,” to ensure that the Palestinian population there does not cross into Israel.
More recently, Israeli forces have demolished Palestinian homes and confiscated their agricultural land.
In 2016, Israel approved a controversial plan to construct a “security fence” along its southern border with the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli government says it is “working on a plan” to build the fence, but the project has been met with opposition from the international community, and the Israeli military has accused Palestinians of blocking the construction with the help of Hamas militants.
The plan was met with widespread criticism, with Palestinian leaders accusing the Israelis of creating a “military buffer zone.”
and the European Union have called on Israel to end its policy of apartheid.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration issued a call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“There are many reasons why the Israelis and Palestinians should continue to work together to reach a lasting peace,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
“Today, President Trump is reaffirming his commitment to the one state solution and to ending the occupation.”