Palestinian workers between the rock and the hard place.

The struggle of Palestinians employed by Israelis is not often in the news. There is a tendency to view them as “unpatriotic” and downplay the significance of their effort to […]

The struggle of Palestinians employed by Israelis is not often in the news. There is a tendency to view them as “unpatriotic” and downplay the significance of their effort to organize for their rights.

In this important article, published by the Jerusalem Quarterly Summer 2021 issue, Ethan Morton-Jerome shows how wrong it is to accuse such workers as selfish traitors to the Palestinian cause. Reading the story of Hatem Abu Ziadeh, who was fired when he organized a union but returned after 20 months to lead his co-workers, one can understand the significance of this struggle to the future of Palestinians as a whole.

This detailed report follows the fight of the workers at Zarfaty Auto Repair in the Industrial Zone of Mishor Adomim in the occupied West Bank near Jerusalem. Morton-Jerome shows how they secured their rights by organizing with the independent Israeli trade union MAAN

The article specifies how the Israeli union won the confidence of Palestinian workers by combining fierce opposition to arbitrary dismissal with effective use of Israeli labor law, along with a remarkable flexibility that led to a collective agreement – a first for Palestinian workers.

The article is based on the author’s long fieldwork focusing on Palestinian labor in West Bank settlements, performed when he was doing his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Arkansas.

Read the article here

אודות Assaf Adiv