National Labor Court rules that unlike their fellow Israeli workers, Palestinians in a no-man’s land industrial zone will remain subject to the Jordanian labor laws of 1967.
Israel’s National Labor Court rejected an appeal by Palestinian workers from the Nitzanei Shalom Industrial Zone this past Sunday, ruling that they will continue to be subject to the Jordanian labor laws of 1967, rather than Israeli laws.
The three appellants — Abdel Hamid Yahiye, Ahmed Shayib and Mujhad Harsha — sued their former employers in Tel Aviv’s Regional Labor Court in 2010 after they were fired for demanding retroactive payment from their employer. The regional court rejected the suit, and the three — with the help of Attorney Ehud Shiloni and the workers’ rights group, WAC-MAAN — appealed to the National Labor Court.
In a two-page ruling, the judges of the National Labor Court established that the industrial zone, which borders Tulkarem, is not part of an Israeli settlement, but rather is located in “no-man’s land” and was established to promote “economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, and the employment of Palestinians.”
The ruling allows the state to discriminate against Palestinians in three ways: first vis-a-vis their peers and superiors at the factory; once vis-a-vis the Palestinian workers in nearby Tulkarem, who are subject to Palestinian labor laws; and once vis-a-vis workers in Jordan, whose labor laws are far more progressive than the ones established in 1967. The only workers who will continue to be subject to the old, draconian Jordanian laws are the Palestinian workers of the industrial zone.
According to the judges, the workers’ contracts clearly state that they will be subject to the Jordanian law, and that Israeli workers in the factory work in maintenance and security — positions that “cannot be compared to those of the appellants.”
The old Jordanian laws do not require employers to pay pensions, nor does they force employers to compensate workers for sick leave after the third day of absence, while providing only minimal vacation days and low severance packages.
In 2007 Israel’s High Court ruled, after 40 years of military rule in the occupied territories, that Israel’s labor laws will apply to Palestinians who work in the settlements. In the “Givat Ze’ev” ruling, the nine justices decided unanimously that because the employers and the workers never formally agreed which labor laws they will follow; and because the settlements constitute “legal enclaves”...Read More