Date: May 2, 2023
Native language: Arabic
Message to place you in the context of continuing violations of Palestinian workers’ rights inside the occupation and urge you to move towards ensuring an adequate environment and suitable working conditions.
To begin, we want to express our gratitude for your good and exceptional contribution in establishing the system of workers’ rights, which is recognized by international human rights agreements. Regarding the aforementioned matter, representatives of a group of human rights institutions operating in the occupied Palestinian territories met with the Ministry of Labour of the Gaza Strip on the following date: 2 May 2023: Alddameer Human Rights Foundation, Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights,Aman Coalition, International Commission to Support Palestinian Rights (Hashd), The Independent Commission for Human Rights/Board of Grievances, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and in the presence of the Palestinian Federation of Trade Unions, the meeting addressed the subject of Israeli breaches impacting Palestinian workers, especially those from the Gaza Strip who work in occupying power establishments. According to current statistics, Israeli breaches against hundreds of Palestinian workers operating within the occupying power resulted in the deaths of about (93) Palestinian workers in 2022 and (32) workers in the first quarter of this year, including (7) workers from Gaza, Various labor accidents have occurred as a result of the occupation authorities’ contempt and neglect of safety and protection measures within the workshops, as well as the lack of genuine oversight over Israeli operators. Including depriving thousands of workers of their entitlement to health insurance if they become ill while on the job, with no consideration for the price of treatment by Israeli operators. Furthermore, racist regulations include a substantial salary gap between Israeli and Palestinian workers working in the same facility, as well as difficult access to their employment in Israel, where Palestinians are forced to walk on bypass roads and uneven terrain. What they have to do is leave their houses at extremely early hours to arrive at the crossings, following a long and torturous waiting journey, before they are permitted to pass past these obstacles and crossings. In contrast to the minimum we have arrived at, this makes the right to work a trip of unimaginable anguish and misery, marked by a range of abuses and unlawful arbitrary measures against workers. This has compelled us, individually or collectively, to ensure that the work of Palestinian workers in the occupying power complies with relevant human rights standards, including International Labor Organization standards, as a fundamental right and must meet decent working conditions and risk safety.
Working in the occupied lands constitutes a lifeline for Palestinian workers in light of the limited national labor market and rising indicators of poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity for most families. According to data from the Palestinian Central Statistical Service, more than 193 thousand workers were employed in occupied lands under Israeli control and in settlements on the occupied West Bank territory in 1967. According to a permit issued by the Ministry of Labor in the Gaza Strip, approximately 140 workers were registered for a work permit. The Ministry has nominated 40 thousand workers and obtained 11 thousand work permits under the name of economic needs. 500 workers were able to transfer their permit to an operator, and 1,000 workers were successful in obtaining a personal operator’s permit, resulting in the preparation of 18,972 valid permits, the last instalment nominated by the Ministry two months ago.
Israel’s occupation continues to disavow all labor permit agreements, evading the diversion of permits to full labor rights operators, in addition to the very slow process of issuing permits, the failure to provide minimum safety factors for Palestinian workers, and the practice of racial discrimination against them, which has resulted in the deaths of 93 Palestinian workers in 2022 and 32 workers in the first quarter of this year. Most of the damage has not been assessed or paid for.
Among them were the Palestinian workers who lost their lives working within the occupying power: “Fawzi Mohammed al-Jabli” (59 years old), after suffering a heart attack while working in the Rahat city of Negav; Ziad al-Ghoul (54 years old), who died in early March following the fall of a crane on his premises while working inside the occupied lands; and Majdi Subhi Abu Karash (54 years old), who died with a Taser while working inside the occupied lands on January 23, and also exposed the worker “Amin Abdul Qader Warda” (58 years old) to attacks by settlers during his work in the occupied lands, where he disappeared for several days. He was found killed in the Abu Kabir morgue in Yafa city,knowing that he had obtained a work permit in March 2023 and only spent days working in the occupied lands.
These figures, which we have shared with you, highlight the instability and safety of Israel’s workplaces. At a time when occupying power operators are paying Palestinian workers for hazardous work without any safety measures or conditions, the minimum rights and reparations for damage are denied, as defined in relevant international laws, including the International Labor Organization standards.
including a hazardous working environment or one that lacks the lowest standards and conditions of protection and safety, Considering your contribution and interventions as a lever to ensure that members of the international community fulfill their obligations under human rights law, particularly those that have guaranteed the right to work and a safe working environment, we urge you to take substantial and realistic steps to protect Palestinian workers’ rights by interfering with occupying authorities. non-discrimination, including workplace integration with international requirements and standards, health insurance in the event of risk or injury and workplace illnesses, as in the case of the Israeli worker, as well as the dispatch of commissions of inquiry and fact-finding of grave and persistent violations at workplaces inside the occupation, and the occupying power’s obligation to assume its responsibilities in respect of injuries and deaths at or from work sites. We’re hoping you’ll be able to move fast now.