Via dolorosa for Palestinians at the Barta’a checkpoint – MAAN report

MAAN – Workers’ Association closely follows the issue of Palestinians working in Israel and the difficulties they face. This is an important issue for us as a trade union active in Israel, organizing workers regardless of their nationality, religion, official status or ethnicity.

As part of this work, we recently raised the problem of sexual harassment against women at the Sha’ar Ephrain (el-Taibeh) checkpoint. In this case, MAAN’s intervention led to a permanent solution. Following this, as a result of MAAN becoming known among Palestinian workers, we received many complaints from such workers about the Barta’a (Reihan) checkpoint in the northwest West Bank, along with photos showing the situation there.

On Nov. 27, MAAN staff led by Wafa Tayara visited the checkpoint. It became clear that the workers there are subject to pressure and harassment on a daily basis:

  1. Crowding and delays that make it hard to get through the checkpoint: According to information obtained by MAAN, steps have recently been taken that have increased the pressure at the checkpoint, above all the change in opening time from 4 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. In addition, on some days only five of the 10 machines for checking the workers’ magnetic cards are operational. This results in increased pressure and chaos.

The solution here is clear: the checkpoint must be opened from 4 a.m. and all the card-reading machines must be operational.

  • The lack of a gate dedicated to women makes it difficult if not impossible for them to pass the checkpoint early in the morning: Women who regularly go through the checkpoint reported to MAAN staff that many are compelled to squeeze together with the men in the crowded checkpoint gates early in the morning, which they find humiliating. Some wait till the men have gone through, and come to the checkpoint only at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m., to avoid harassment.

There should be a gate for women only, as there now is in Sha’ar Ephraim (near Tul Karem), which solved the problem there.

  • The waiting area on the Palestinian side of the checkpoint is an open space, without a roof and with only two toilets which are supposed to serve thousands of workers waiting for long hours each day.

A roof must be erected and the number of toilets increased, and an area must be set aside for prayer.

  • Many workers come to the checkpoint in private vehicles. They are not permitted to enter Israel in their own vehicles, but there is no organized parking at the site. Certain people have taken advantage of this situation, opening a parking lot and charging each worker NIS 400 per month for parking. In addition, the IDF makes sure that any area available for free parking is closed off to the workers. Workers who park on the side of the main road are disproportionately penalized, even losing their work permits for unspecified periods of time. In this way the security services leave the Palestinians no choice but to pay the high costs of parking.

The solution here is clear and not costly: a free parking area must be organized.

In summary – the workers at Barta’a checkpoint report very difficult conditions which are easily and cheaply solvable. The security services must ensure that people are treated humanely and with dignity on their way to work.


The East Jerusalem Project

Significant Achievements of MAAN – Workers Association in Protecting Workers’ Rights

Since the outbreak of the war, MAAN – Workers Association has secured the labor rights, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, and support for work accidents for over 300 residents of East Jerusalem. This includes opening checkpoints and distributing food vouchers, translating to over 3 million NIS in benefits. Notably, over 40% of those who received assistance are women.

Palestinian Workers

The government’s decision to massively import overseas workers is social lawlessness, a disaster for both the economy and security. It must be revoked and Palestinians must be allowed to return to their jobs in Israel

Wednesday, May 15, the Israeli government approved a structural reform on employment of migrant workers where it allowed a ceiling of 330,000 overseas workers in the Israeli job market. MAAN sees this decision as a step that defies all economic logic, contradicts labor market planning, and opens the way to a dangerous expansion of human trafficking for labor purposes in Israel. In addition, the decision reflects complete disregard for the consequences of the continued halt in employment of Palestinians.

The East Jerusalem Project

Severe employment crisis in East Jerusalem ahead of Ramadan

On the eve of Ramadan, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are facing an economic and social crisis exacerbated by a 7.6 per cent increase in unemployment since the outbreak of the war. Despite the crisis, the government is severely undermining its own five-year plan for East Jerusalem. MAAN Workers Association (hence MAAN) calls on the mayor and the incoming city council to secure budgets to reduce socio-economic gaps in the city.

Palestinian Workers

MAAN and Kav Laoved write to Immigration and Population Authority and demand to reserve a place in the quota for Palestinian workers with a permit who resigned/fired during the “Iron Swords” war

The two workers’ rights groups wrote on Feb. 13 to Mr. Moshe Nakash the head of the Immigration and Population Authority and demanded that special measures will be taken to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian workers and also to enable Israeli employers to overcome the crisis and keep their experienced workers.


אנא כתבו את שמכם המלא, טלפון ותיאור קצר של נושא הפנייה, ונציג\ה של מען יחזרו אליכם בהקדם האפשרי.

رجاءً اكتبوا اسمكم الكامل، الهاتف، ووصف قصير حول موضوع توجهكم، ومندوب عن نقابة معًا سيعاود الاتصال بكم لاحقًا

As an organization committed to the rights of workers without distinction of religion, race, nationality, gender, or profession - democracy is our essence. We strongly oppose the authoritarian laws that the extreme government of Netanyahu, Lapid, Bennett, and Smotrich is attempting to impose.

Without democracy, there are no workers' rights, just as a workers' organization cannot exist under dictatorship.

only a victory of the democratic camp will enable a discussion on the Palestinian issue and lead to an alternative solution to occupation and apartheid while ensuring human rights and citizenship for all, Israelis and Palestinians alike. As long as the apartheid regime persists, the democratic camp will not succeed in defeating Israeli extremists. Therefore, we work to involve the Arab and Palestinian society in the protest.

We invite you:

To march with us in protests and to build an alternative, democratic, Jewish-Arab professional union in Israel. Join our quiet WhatsApp group today, "Marching with us in protest."

To join MAAN and unite workers in your workplace. Read here how to join the organization.

To follow MAAN's work on social networks.

Please write your full name, phone number, and a brief description of the subject of your inquiry, and a representative from our organization will get back to you as soon as possible.