Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian workers

Striking for their first substantial raise in decades. Palestinian workers at the Yamit factory Nitzanei Shalom in a West Bank settlement near the city of Tulkarm

Danny Zaken Jan 14, 2021

The story of Israeli factories in the legally ambiguous West Bank industrial zones is one of economics and politics, and the coronavirus crisis has thrown its dynamics into stark relief as Palestinian laborers fight for the same salaries as their Israeli counterparts.

Israel Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that Israeli law applies to Palestinian laborers employed in Israel and in West Bank settlements.

Nine judges decided unanimously that the nationality of the workers could not be used as an excuse for employers to offer them working conditions that differ from those afforded to their Israeli counterparts.

The ruling applies to all Palestinian laborers working in Israel and in the settlements. Excepting:

It does not apply to the Nitzanei Shalom industrial park, built in the 1990s, soon after the signing of the Oslo Accords, near the Palestinian city of Tulkarm and along the separation fence.

The Yamit plant, which manufactures water filters for agriculture and home use, is located in this industrial zone and therefore not subject to the ruling or Israeli law in general.

Some 80,000 Palestinian workers enter Israel every day.

According to data provided by the Israeli Civil Administration, a branch of the Ministry of Defense that serves as a liaison between the Palestinians and the Israeli authorities, the workers earn an average of 6,000 shekels a month ($1,800).

While this amount is roughly the minimum wage for Israeli workers, it is about four times the average wage in the Palestinian territories.

Another 30,000 Palestinians work in the West Bank, mainly in industrial zones adjacent to Israeli settlements. A few more thousand work in construction.

According to the Civil Administration, the salaries of these working in West Bank settlements are only slightly lower than those of Palestinians working in Israel proper, averaging about 5,500 shekels ($1,750) per month. They are also eligible for the conditions and benefits provided by Israeli law such as pensions, sick pay and paid vacation time.

al-monitor Palestinian workers wearing masks against COVID-19 line up for a security check at the entrance to Israel’s Mishor Adumim industrial zone near the Maale Adumim settlement in the West Bank east of Jerusalem, on July 1, 2020. Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images.

A senior Civil Administration official told Al-Monitor that the income of these 120,000 workers amounts to more than a quarter of the total income in the West Bank in 2019.

That figure is even higher this year because of the pandemic, which has devastated the Palestinian economy. As Israel relies heavily on Palestinian laborers, particularly at construction sites, even at the height of infection waves, workers who would otherwise be in lockdown were allowed to enter Israel.

Never miss another story

The factory employs 80 Palestinians who earn between 5,000 and 6,000 shekels ($1,600 and $1,900) per month. Some of those workers have been at the factory for two decades or more and now that they have considerable professional experience, they want raises. They even organized as a union with the Israeli labor organization Maan.

Negotiations with the factory began last year, but they dragged on for months because of the coronavirus. Finally, the factory’s owner Ofer Talmi informed them that he could not meet their demands because of the economic crisis resulting from COVID-19. But the workers refused to concede.

On Dec. 31, 2020, they declared a strike. Surprised, Talmi sent an angry email to the head of Maan, Assaf Adiv, saying that he meets all the legal obligations to his workers. Then he added, “The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. As a result, I am unwilling to have Palestinian workers with any connection to the state of Israel whatsoever.”

Furious about his response, the striking workers released the email to the Palestinian and Israeli media.

Halil Shihab, one of the striking workers, said, “We’ve been working for years for minimum wage. We are professionals and we get minimum wage. Now he says that he doesn’t want to give his employees basic conditions because they are Arabs — not because he can’t afford it.”

Realizing the magnitude of his mistake, Talmi released a letter in Arabic apologizing to his workers and warning that if the strike continues, he will be forced to close the factory. He promised them 1,000 shekels ($320) each if they returned to work and said that he would renew negotiations over pay.

“I want to apologize and take back what I wrote in my previous email about the right to the Land of Israel. It was written in a moment of extreme duress. … It is very hard for me to see the gates of our factory closed, since this could have serious implications on all of our livelihoods. We are in a difficult period and the strike hurts all of us. It threatens our very existence.”

According to the factory’s management, Adiv shared the first letter with anti-Israel organizations like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which has used it to attack Israel.

His motives, they say, were entirely political. Meanwhile, the factory’s owner told Al-Monitor, “Yamit has employed Palestinian workers for over 35 years now. It operates according to the law and grants them all sorts of rights and benefits, including better pay, pensions, sick pay and worker’s compensation.

Assaf Adiv of Maan is making cynical use of this difficult time, knowing that Yamit is contending with enormous difficulties because of the coronavirus, like so many other factories and industries in Israel and around the world. This attempt to interfere, supposedly on behalf of some ideology or other, causes enormous damage to the otherwise healthy working relations and genuine coexistence that has been a hallmark of this factory for years. ”

Adiv denied the accusation. In a conversation with Al-Monitor he said that all he wanted was to obtain better working conditions for experienced professionals.

If Talmi had just declared his willingness to raise their salaries once the crisis was over, the whole situation would have been resolved. Adiv also claimed that by never contributing to the workers’ pension fund, Talmi has saved millions over the years.

Ali, another worker at the factory, spoke to Al-Monitor about the conflict. Asking that his full name not be used, he said, “I am willing to forgive Ofer Talmi, but he needs to realize that we deserve more. If he really supports coexistence, let him show us that he is prepared for it. We would then help him get the factory through this crisis.”

If that happens, the industrial zone model could survive. If not, it may be in serious danger.

Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2021/01/israel-palestinians-west-bank-nitzanei-shalom-oslo-accords.html#ixzz6jplOHHcN

Blatant bus racial segregation: How could it be motivated by “security” concerns?

Israel’s top legal officer has ordered Moshe Ya’alon, the country’s defence minister, to explain a decision that effectively bans Palestinian workers from travelling to their West Bank homes on the same buses as Jewish settlers.

The demand, from Yehuda Weinstein, the Attorney General, follows criticism that the move – officially justified on “security grounds” – amounted to racial segregation.

Mr Ya’alon’s order will make it illegal from December for Palestinian labourers working in Tel Aviv and central Israel from boarding the Trans-Samaria bus, which travels through the occupied West Bank to the settlement of Ariel.

Moshe Ya’alon ordered to explain ban

Decision by Israel’s defence minister has led to accusations of racial segregation despite official insistence that it is motivated by “security” concerns

The defence minister's justification contradicts the stance of the Israeli army, which has said it does not consider the Palestinian workers' presence on the buses a threat

The defence minister’s justification contradicts the stance of the Israeli army, which has said it does not consider the Palestinian workers’ presence on the buses a threat Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Instead they will have to enter the West Bank through the Eyal checkpoint, far removed from many Palestinian populations centres, and then continue on separate buses.

The defence minister’s justification contradicts the stance of the Israeli army, which has said it does not consider the Palestinian workers’ presence on the buses a threat, since only those who have been given security clearance are allowed into Israel.

Now the Attorney General’s office has asked the defence ministry to list the facts and considerations – including legal advice – that prompted Mr Ya’alon’s decision, amid criticisms that he was motivated by a desire to curry favour with settlers’ groups.

The liberal Haaretz newspaper accused him of “kowtowing” to settler opinion while giving ammunition to those who characterise Israel as an “apartheid state“.

“The minister’s decision reeks of apartheid, typical of the Israeli occupation regime in the territories,” the newspaper wrote in an editorial headlined “Welcome Aboard Israel’s Apartheid Bus”.

One of the most blatant symbols of the regime of racial separation in South Africa was the separate bus lines for whites and blacks. Now, Ya’alon has implemented the same policy in the occupied territories.”

A source in Mr Ya’alon’s office defended the move as “purely a security-related matter”. “Its purpose is to supervise the entries and exits into Israeli territory, thereby reducing the chances of terror attacks inside Israeli territory,” the source told Ha’aretz.

Israel’s transport ministry came under fire last year for introducing “Palestinian only” buses from Israel to the West Bank following complaints from settlers.

The latest controversy came as Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, hit back at international criticism of a decision to proceed with plans to build 1,060 new settlers homes in East Jerusalem, which is claimed by the Palestinians as their future capital.

The European Union and the US both condemned the move – apparently agreed in an attempt to appease pro-settler ministers in Mr Netanyahu’s coalition – as harmful to prospects for peace.

Mr Netanyahu dismissed the criticisms as “disconnected from reality”. “The EU and the US are applying a double standard when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said on a visit to the port city of Ashdod.

“When Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority] incites murder of Jews in Jerusalem, the international community remains silent. And when we build in Jerusalem, they become indignant. I don’t accept that. Just as the French build in Paris and the British build in London, Israelis build in Jerusalem.”

Existence is Resistance

“THE ONLY WAY TO DEAL WITH AN UNFREE WORLD IS TO BECOME SO ABSOLUTELY FREE THAT YOUR VERY EXISTENCE IS AN ACT OF REBELLION.” – ALBERT CAMUS

If you need an introduction to the flap between Scarlett Johanson and Oxfam https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/internal-revolt-scarlett-johansson-oxfam-sodastream-boycott-israelwest-bank-settlements/

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd writes letter to Scarlett Johanson about her support of Israeli Apartheid

In the past days I have written privately to Neil Young (once) and to Scarlett Johanson (a couple of times). Those letters will remain private.

Sadly, I have received no reply from either.

And so I write this note on my Facebook page somewhat in bewilderment.

Roger Waters

Neil? I shall ponder all of this long and hard. We don’t really know each other, but, you were always one of my heroes, I am confused.

Scarlett? Ah, Scarlett. I met Scarlett a year or so ago, I think it was at a Cream reunion concert at MSG.

Scarlet was, as I recall, fiercely anti Neocon, passionately disgusted by Blackwater (Dick Cheney’s private army in Iraq), you could have been forgiven for thinking that here was a young woman of strength and integrity who believed in truth, human rights, and the law and love. I confess I was somewhat smitten. There’s no fool like an old fool.

A few years down the line, Scarlett’s choice of Soda Stream over Oxfam is such an act of intellectual, political, and civil about face, that we, all those of us who care about the downtrodden, the oppressed, the occupied, the second class, will find it hard to rationalize.

I would like to ask that younger Scarlett a question or two:

1. Scarlett, just for one example, are you aware that the Israeli government has razed to the ground a Bedouin village in the Negev desert in Southern Israel 63 times, the last time being on the 26th of December 2013. This village is the home to Bedouin. The Bedouin are, of course, Israeli citizens with full rights of citizenship. Well, not quite full rights, because in “Democratic” Israel there are 50 laws that discriminate against non Jewish citizens.

I am not going to attempt to list, either those laws (they are on the statute book in the Knesset for all to research) or all the other grave human rights abuses of Israeli domestic and foreign policy. I would run out of space. But, to return to my friend Scarlett Johanson.

2. Scarlett, I have read your reposts and excuses, in them you claim that the Palestinian workers in the factory have equal pay, benefits and “Equal rights”. Really? Equal Rights? Do they?

1. Do they have the right to vote?

2. Do they have access to the roads?

3. Can they travel to their work place without waiting for hours to pass through the occupying forces control barriers?

4. Do they have clean drinking water?

5. Do they have sanitation?

6. Do they have citizenship?

7. Do they have the right not to have the standard issue kicking in their door in the middle of the night and taking their children away?

8. Do they have the right to appeal against arbitrary and indefinite imprisonment?

9. Do they have the right to re-occupy the property and homes they owned before 1948?

10. Do they have the right to an ordinary, decent human family life?

11. Do they have the right to self determination?

12. Do they have the right to continue to develop a cultural life that is ancient and profound?

If these questions put you in a quandary I can answer them for you. The answer is, NO, they do not.

The workers in The Soda Stream Factory do not have any of these rights.

So, what are the “equal rights” of which you speak?

Scarlett, you are undeniably cute, but if you think Soda Stream is building bridges towards peace you are also undeniably not paying attention.

Love. R.

Taken From Roger Waters Facebook Page


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

June 2021
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Blog Stats

  • 1,473,233 hits

Top Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 806 other followers

%d bloggers like this: