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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

PA backs down from banning PalArabs working in settlements

Last May I reported about how the PA was trying to ban some 25,000 people from working in jobs provided by Jewish employers in Judea and Samaria, saying that they would find alternative work or that they would simply become unemployed rather than work for their Jewish neighbors.

My comment at the time was that it would be interesting to see if Palestinian Arabs, working to provide for their families in an honorable fashion, would sacrifice their own personal dignity for the forcibly imposed "dignity" of the PA. My guess was that people still would prioritize their own dignity.

Ha'aretz's Avi Issacharoff reports that the plan to ban jobs working for pioneer Jews has hit a roadblock.
The Palestinian Authority has reconsidered a proposal that would have barred Palestinian laborers from working in West Bank Jewish settlements.

Although several PA officials, notably Economy Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh and Prime Minister Salad Fayyad, came out in favor of such a move at the beginning of the year, it appears the PA has decided not to push for legislation on the issue because it is unable to offer the workers alternative employment.

The settlements and laborers who work in them have a mutually beneficial relationship, and settlement construction relies on Palestinian labor. Many Palestinian workers who do not have permission to work in Israel proper find employment in the settlements.

According to Israeli figures from September 2009 that were provided to the PA's donor countries, 22,000 Palestinians were working with Israeli permission in the settlements, including the settlements' industrial zones.

Non-governmental organizations have said, however, that about 10,000 other Palestinians are working in the settlements without formal permission, mainly in seasonal agricultural work.

It also appears that since September 2009, the number of Palestinians employed in the settlements has increased to nearly 35,000. These workers support a Palestinian population of more than 200,000, and PA legislation barring employment in the settlements would be an economic blow to Palestinians in the West Bank following a rise in Palestinian living standards there.
So since the PA publicly spoke out against Palestinian Arabs working in Jewish towns, the number of employees have actually increased by some 40%!