RAMALLAH: The powerful International Labor Organization is investigating allegations of ill-treatment and exploitation of Palestinian workers in Israel.
Palestinian leaders have handed a dossier to a fact-finding committee from the organization showing that the Israeli army killed 93 Palestinian workers in Israel in 2022, and a further 31 so far this year.
The report also detailed abuse of Palestinian workers at military checkpoints and barriers, the absence of occupational health and safety standards, and illegal working hours.
The dossier was handed over by Shaher Saad, secretary-general of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions. Saad also told investigators that brokers and illegal middlemen were deducting about $34 million a month in fees taken from workers’ salaries, which prevented the implementation of a working social security system in Palestine.
About 170,000 Palestinians from the West Bank work in Israel or in illegal Israeli settlements, and 17,000 from the Gaza Strip. Each month they are required to pay about 2,500 shekels ($780) in fees for a work permit, in a system that is riddled with corruption.
A report in 2021 by the Institute for National Security Studies suggests that people illegally selling work permits had annual revenue of 1 billion shekels from about 40,000 Palestinian workers.
Meanwhile Israeli armed forces’ assaults against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have continued with increasing frequency during Ramadan, Palestinian sources told to Arab News.
On Tuesday, the Israeli army arrested 13 citizens from different parts of the West Bank. At the same time, and for the fourth consecutive day, it continued to tighten its grip on the town of Huwara, south of Nablus.
Kamal Odeh, Fatah secretary in Huwara, said that the Israeli army had deployed intensively on the main street, setting up several barriers and trying to divert citizens’ routes through secondary streets inside the town.Soldiers turned several houses along the main street in the center of Huwara into military barracks.
“The security situation around Nablus is frightening,” Amer Hamdan, a rights activist from Nablus, told Arab News.
Israeli bulldozers also demolished three agricultural facilities in the Al-Sawahra wilderness, east of Jerusalem, and a commercial facility in Deir Ballut, west of Salfit.
Maj. Gen. Abdullah Kamil, the governor of Salfit, said demolitions by Israeli authorities in Salfit served the occupation’s plans to uproot Palestinian citizens from their lands in order to build more Israeli settlements.