RAMALLAH, May 10 (JMCC) - Israeli settlements in the Jordan valley are employing Palestinian children to work long hours for little pay, reports
Al-Fasayil residents say that over a dozen youth from the village, all under the age of 18, are currently working in Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley. It is estimated that between 500-1,000 minors travel from other villages and cities throughout the West Bank to work in the area.
Most child labourers in the Jordan Valley make between 50-70 NIS per day (13-18 dollars), and are employed to pick, wash and package fruits and vegetables grown in local Israeli agricultural settlements. They work long hours in difficult weather conditions throughout the winter and summer months, and receive no benefits or insurance against injuries.
There are so few options in the Jordan Valley. Due to Israeli restrictions that are in place on economic and agricultural development, there’s nothing. Palestinians can either stay at home all day or work in a settlement and be able to provide for their families, explained Christopher Whitman, advocacy coordinator at Ma’an Development Centre, a Palestinian development and empowerment organisation based in Ramallah.
Whitman told IPS that while Israel must apply the same labour laws enforced inside Israel proper to the West Bank territory it occupies, including the Jordan Valley, it fails to ensure that Palestinian labourers working in Israeli settlements get paid the Israeli minimum wage, or receive healthcare, sick days off and other employment rights.
Israel has to follow the same laws as would apply in Israel. If you had Jewish-Israeli, Ashkenazi children working in settlements doing manual labour, there would be an upheaval in Israel against it, Whitman said.