Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) today published the translation of an article from the official Palestinian Authority paper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida praising the treatment Palestinian workers receive from Israeli employers. The paper reported that “[w]henever Palestinian workers have the opportunity to work for Israeli employers, they are quick to quit their jobs with their Palestinian employers.”
An interview conducted by Al-Hayat Al-Jadida with a representative group of Palestinian workers revealed that those working for Israelis receive much higher salaries than their colleagues employed by Palestinians. In addition, those working for Israelis receive their pensions directly or through the lawyer representing the union of professional organizations in their region, while Palestinians working for Palestinian employers receive their pensions [only] after negotiating with them, and after many deductions, or through a personal appeal to court …
Furthermore, those working for Palestinian employers stated unanimously that they work without medical insurance, as [insurance] is not required by the Palestinian Labor Law, and that they receive no compensation for their travel expenses, while the Israeli employers, in most cases, pay their workers’ travel expenses in both directions.
The article compared the conditions experienced by two waiters:
Fuad Qahawish, who works as a waiter in a restaurant, says: ‘I work 10 hours a day and receive a monthly salary of not more than 1,900 shekels, and we have no additional rights like yearly vacations, travel expenses and so on.’ He reveals that ‘my colleagues who do the same work for Israelis receive 4,000 shekels a month for the same number of hours.’
Saleh Al-Haj Musa notes: ‘I work eight hours in an Israeli restaurant near the Dead Sea and receive a salary of over 4,000 shekels, and my salary will increase because they are required to pay minimum wage [for Palestinian workers].’ He added: ‘They treat us well, and we receive our pensions easily – if not directly through an agreement with the employer, then through the lawyer of the union.’
Workers in other fields reported similar disparities.
In the wake of the SodaStream controversy, actress Scarlett Johansson observed, “I have witnessed first-hand that progress is made when communities join together and work alongside one another and feel proud of the outcome of that work in the quality of their product and work environment.”
[Photo: CC BY-SA HonestReporting.com / Flickr ]