The report’s aim is to update information on the challenges faced by residents of the Palestinian Authority who work in territory annexed by Israel, where Israeli labor law applies, and to present directions for action.
Atarot Industrial Zone is a microcosm for the situation of the 150,000 Palestinians employed in both Israel and the settlements.
The new report includes an up-to-date description of the structural difficulties facing Palestinian workers, and evaluates a reform which was announced in the permit system in 2019 but never implemented.
The report documents MAAN’s successful struggle to cancel the deduction of service fees from the wages of Palestinians employed in Israel, a practice that formerly moved millions of shekels into the coffers of the Histadrut in ways that were illegal.
MAAN’s General Director Assaf Adiv authored the report, together with Muhannad Anati who interviewed the employees.
Atarot is the largest traditional industrial zone in Jerusalem. It currently houses 160 factories and is in a boom of expansion. The area employs 3,600 people, most of them residents of the Palestinian Authority who cross through the nearby Qalandiya checkpoint day after day on their way to and from work.
By concentrating thousands of workers in factories, which often require skilled labor and stability, Israel has unintentionally created a permanent workforce with significant bargaining power, hence with the possibility of unionizing.
MAAN promotes equal participation in its ranks regardless of identity and national or religious affiliation. In Atarot, it has so far unionized three factories. In one of them, Rajwan Foods, a groundbreaking collective agreement was achieved in March 2021.
In the report, MAAN presents two practical ideas that can be implemented at once. One is a model for changing the permit regime, and the other is unionization.
The current report offers data that has never before been collected and presented, hence its importance and uniqueness.