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Sri Lanka to Israel’s rescue? Colombo to provide 10,000 workers as Palestinians are banned

Israel#s Minister of Interior Moshe Arbel and Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Israel Nimal Bandaranaike

Sri Lanka has signed a deal with Israel that will see Colombo send 10,000 farm workers to the country, after as many as 20,000 Palestinian agricultural workers were banned by the Israeli government.

The agreement was reportedly signed by Israel’s Minister of Interior Moshe Arbel and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Israel Nimal Bandaranaike, as Israel continues its offensive into Gaza.

Though Sri Lankan officials have repeatedly called for a “two-state solution” to the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Sri Lanka’s president even floating a “four-state” idea – and voted or a UN General Assembly resolution that Israel condemned, Colombo rushed to assist the country as it launched military action.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the expulsion of Palestinain workers kast month, with his office posting on Twitter/X, "There will be no more Palestinian workers from Gaza”.

As many as 20,000 Palestinian agricultural workers had permits revoked and thousands more have been detained by Israeli security forces or forcibly expelled to Gaza.

Sri Lanka already has 4,500 workers from the island employed in Israel, most of them working in the homecare sector. According to a spokesperson from the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB), there are some 8,000 Sri Lankans in Israel at present.

Last month, amid the Israeli offensive in Gaza, Sri Lankan migrants working in Israel have chosen to remain in the country and face the possibility of escalating armed conflict rather than return to the island.

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