dimanche 18 juin 2017

Palestinian workers’ endless suffering with checkpoints in Ramadan

Les travailleurs palestiniens souffrent sans fin aux postes de contrôle durant Ramadan


Two hours prior to Palestinians’ gathering at the Suhur meal (last pre-dawn meal before fasting in Ramadan) in the occupied West Bank, thousands of Palestinian workers line up at the Israeli occupation’s various crossings, which lead to the 1948 occupied territories in, in search of their livelihood.

Despite all the claims of the occupation authorities of facilitating their crossing during the month of Ramadan, the number of workers crossing these checkpoints remained the same and the restrictions were not eased.

At two AM, Abdullah Yahya arrives at the Taybeh crossing, to the west of Tulkarm, in the northern West Bank, to join thousands of workers. These workers experience hustles and try to fit themselves into the crowds in order to cross in a process that takes hours, while their children are eating the Suhur meal back home.

The situation of Palestinian workers from the West Bank in 1948 Occupied Paelstine is the worst during the month of Ramadan; civil servants work less in Ramadan, and construction workers in the West Bank resort to working at night, to avoid the sun heat, while Palestinian workers inside the 1948 occupied territories don’t enjoy this luxury.

Suhur at the checkpoint

Yahya points out to the PIC reporter that workers cannot give up their work in Ramadan because they need money to survive, despite the fact that working in the construction sector while fasting means facing a lot of hardships.

He added, “I eat my Suhur at the crossing, and wait for the arrival of the operator. Then, we go to the workshop and I work as usual. The Israeli contractor has his own deadlines and dates, and do not care if I am fasting or not, and believes that it is my own problem.

Worker Amjad Alawneh told the PIC reporter that some of the operators show understanding in Ramadan, and some of them do not pay attention to that. In all cases, a worker would not risk, in light of these difficult circumstances, losing a job offer. Some workers have been denied permits throughout the year, and they only were given permits in Ramadan.

Speaking of hardships faced by Palestinian workers at the crossings in Ramadan, Alawneh confirms that the Israeli occupation’s claim of facilitating the crossing of workers is not true, and the facts on the ground reveal the opposite.

Abandoned workers

According to statistics from the General Federation of Palestinian Trade Unions (GFPTU), 15,000 workers cross the Taybeh crossing every day in a short period of time, which means endless harassment. The same happens at the Jalameh checkpoint north of Jenin and Eyal checkpoint near Qalqiliya and other Israeli checkpoints.

Alawneh speaks of the situation at the crossing in terms of stopping work during changing shifts, increasing inspections of workers and the number of hours of holding them in a humiliating manner by forcing them to cross five iron gates out of 15, known as Maghatat, then passing through the metal detector for further delay and inspection. Then workers put their fingers on the fingerprint device, which is an electronic device that shows all security information about them.

Hassan Waleel, from Qalqilya, told the PIC reporter: “We, the workers inside the 1948 occupied territories, have no one’s back. We fell victim to these complicated procedures. No one pays attention to us nor defends us. Not a single official talked about us or considered what is happening to us an issue of concern.”


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