Workers from the Occupied Territories

Under international humanitarian law, as well as human rights law, the State of Israel is required to ensure the livelihood of the Palestinian residents in the Occupied Territories under its effective control, and guarantee their right to work and to an adequate standard of living. These obligations especially apply in this case given that, since the beginning of the occupation, Israel has deliberately prevented the creation of an independent Palestinian economy and has contributed to the grave economic hardship now existing in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Rather than help rectify the problem it caused, the State of Israel continues to deny many Palestinians their right to work and earn a livelihood. Not infrequently, Palestinian workers entering Israel also fall victim to exploitation by their employers and to abusive and cruel treatment by Israeli police officers and soldiers.

Dependence on work in Israel

From the beginning of the occupation, in 1967, to the beginning of the peace process (the Oslo agreements), in 1993, Israel administrated the economy in the Occupied Territories . Its policy during these years was aimed at underdevelopment of the Palestinian economy: Israel refrained from investing in the development of an independent Palestinian economy, and encouraged Palestinians to integrate themselves in the Israeli workforce. As a result, income from work in Israel formed a major part of Palestinian domestic output. On the eve of the Oslo peace process, some 115,000 Palestinians worked in Israel , and unemployment in the Occupied Territories had declined to under five percent. These workers, who comprised one-third of the workforce in the Occupied Territories , supported hundreds of thousands of dependants.

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