June 21, 2024


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Kamal Karaja: The Impact of Gaza Conflict on Palestinian Construction Workers in the West Bank

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Kamal Karaja: The Plight of Palestinian Construction Workers in the West Bank

Amid the conflict between Israel and Hamas, Palestinian construction workers in the West Bank, particularly those holding permits to work in Israel, have faced dire consequences. Kamal Karaja, a 32-year-old construction worker from the town of Deir Bzi, experienced firsthand the impact of the conflict on his livelihood. Following the cancellation of his work permit due to “security concerns” cited by Israel, Kamal found himself struggling to make ends meet, eventually resorting to selling firewood to support his family.

Challenges Faced by Palestinian Workers in the West Bank

Cancellation of Work Permits: The cancellation of work permits for Palestinian workers in Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank has left approximately 200,000 workers in the West Bank unemployed, causing a significant economic downturn in the region. The loss of income has had a direct impact on the ability of these workers to provide for their families and meet basic needs.

Lack of Compensation: Many Palestinian workers, including Kamal, were employed without contracts and did not receive any compensation when their permits were cancelled. This lack of financial support has further exacerbated the financial strain on these workers and their families.

Replacement by Foreign Workers: In response to the situation, Israel has announced plans to admit over 60,000 workers from countries such as India, China, Moldova, Sri Lanka, and Thailand to replace Palestinian workers. This decision has sparked criticism, with concerns raised about the expertise and contributions of Palestinian workers to the local economy.

Economic Fallout and Unemployment: The unemployment rate in the Palestinian territories has surged from 23% to 47% since the onset of the conflict, leading to a contraction of the Palestinian economy by 35%. The Palestinian Authority has sought assistance from donor countries and the International Labour Organisation, as the financial strain has exacerbated an already precarious economic situation.

Financial Hardships and Neglect: Palestinian workers like Bassam Karaja have found themselves in dire straits, unable to pay basic utility bills, and expressing frustration at the lack of support from the Palestinian Authority.

Challenges Faced by the Palestinian Authority: The Palestinian Authority’s financial difficulties have been compounded by the withholding of tax revenues by Israel, resulting in reduced salaries for civil servants and difficulties in funding public services in Gaza and the West Bank.

The plight of Palestinian construction workers in the West Bank is a sobering reflection of the profound impact of the Gaza conflict on individuals and communities. As the region grapples with economic challenges and widespread unemployment, the need for support and sustainable solutions for these workers and their families remains a pressing concern.

Key Points:

– The cancellation of work permits for Palestinian workers in Israel has left approximately 200,000 workers in the West Bank unemployed.
– Palestinian workers have faced financial hardships, with many resorting to selling firewood to support their families.
– The Palestinian Authority has struggled with reduced tax revenues and funding challenges, affecting civil service salaries and public services.
– The economic fallout has led to a surge in the unemployment rate and a significant contraction of the Palestinian economy.

In the wake of the Gaza conflict, the plight of Palestinian construction workers underscores the urgent need for support and sustainable solutions to address the economic challenges faced by individuals and communities in the West Bank.

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