Israel - Problems for Palestinian workers (2012)

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics states that between 40,000 and 65,000 Palestinians work in Israel and 9,000 officially work in the Jewish settlements, despite a ban on Palestinians working in the settlements by the Palestinian government. Palestinians working in Israel often face problems crossing borders from the West Bank and Gaza Strip into Israel due to security checks. In addition, some 20,000 Palestinians work in the West Bank settlements for very low wages. Their situation is exacerbated by the fact that they are afraid to make complaints against their Israeli employers, which limits the number of workplace inspections.

Data was released in January regarding the quota arrangements for Palestinian workers in Israel by the Ministry of Defence. A Palestinian who wants to work officially in Israel must first find an employer willing to file an application on his behalf and fulfil the criteria for employment in a particular sector. Each occupation has a different set of criteria. For example, the quota for Palestinians seeking construction work in Israel is set at 19,500 and in order to receive a work permit in construction, the Palestinian applicant must be at least 35 years old and married with children. There are 3,000 positions in agriculture (including citrus fruits or strawberries picking); and 8,000 for work in orchards and groves. In these sectors a Palestinian must be at least 28 and married with children to receive a work permit.

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