Workers use an immersion heater to boil water. (2011) (photo: Ron Amir)
[….] Similarly to the other estimated 30,000 Palestinian workers without work permits in Israel, these laborers are confined to building sites day and night for fear of being arrested.
“Every two weeks or so the police come and detain us. They take us to the checkpoint and send us back into the West Bank. It’s their way of telling us whose boss. But they know we’ll just make our way back in,” said Faisal. Israeli NGO Kav LaOved reports that when workers are apprehended, they are usually transported back into the West Bank. But workers can also be indicted. Sentences usually include three months in jail and a police preclusion for three years, barring them from entering and working in Israel lawfully. Basem has had numerous run-ins with the police for working without a permit, but he spoke of how in his experience, no contractor had been penalized for employing illegal workers. He said that this was partly as a result of workers not naming their employers out of fear of being blacklisted.
Israeli photographer, Ron Amir, has a long and close relationship with this particular group of workers. He initially met them while documenting the lives of illegal workers for an exhibition, and subsequently became a friend. Ron described how Palestinian construction workers usually find employment through a long chain of middlemen. Workers are initially hired by a subcontractor from their own village, who is then recruited by a series of other contractors within Israel. Ron claimed that this structure is geared towards obscuring the complicity of Israeli firms in employing illegal workers. This in turn diminishes the prospect of the general contractor being held legally accountable. As Kav LaOved reports, the incentive for employing a Palestinian without a work permit is high. The cost of employing a Palestinian worker with a permit is about 70% higher than employing one without a permit (210 versus 124 shekels respectively).
[….] Israeli labor laws states that every worker in Israel is entitled to the full range of social rights regardless of whether or not they have a permit. Despite this, primary research by NGOs such as Kav LaOved and Gisha suggest that Israeli employers systematically abuse the rights of Palestinian and immigrant workers, particularly those without permits.
Basem didn’t seem phased by the dangers in his line of work. He spoke of a 22 year old Palestinian worker who died this past November after falling off a construction site in Netanya. No charges have as of yet, been lodged against the contractor of the dead worker. Suheib Zayud, 19, fell from a construction site in 2011, he remains in a coma. His contractor denied that he had ever employed Suheib. As a result, the worker’s family received no financial compensation, and have been burdened with all the medical expenses. This case, as well as others before it, suggest that the contractor of the fatally injured worker in Netanya, is unlikely to face legal ramifications.
The work conditions of illegal workers are often substandard, with legally required on-site security and safety conditions systematically neglected. As Kav LaOved reports, in past cases of work-related accidents involving illegal workers, employers have denied any connection to the employee. The lack of a permit and official documentation mean that the employee is unlikely to be able to prove their eligibility for compensation from the National Insurance Institute. A lack of official documentation, and workers commonly receiving cash in hand from subcontractors, makes employees more susceptible to exploitation, and increases the difficulty of proving a violation of rights in labor courts.
At the end of 2011, a total of 27,000 Palestinians were legally working in Israel, predominantly in construction and agriculture. According to a publication issued by the Association of Builders in Israel in 2011, the sector needs 20,000 more workers. Numerous Israeli contractors have reported that they are consistently short of construction workers.
—Alon Aviram, Palestinian employment: The phantom workers of Israel
Children were subjected to isolation and ill-treatment; many developed a fear of dogs used for searching. They suffered from nightmares, sleeping and eating disorders, bedwetting, and feared re- arrest or acquired unhealthy habits such as smoking–
Twelve-year-old arrested 10 times by Israel in three years via The Electronic Intifada
According to a report released by Save the Children and the East Jerusalem YMCA Rehabilitation Program in March, the Israeli authorities have arrested and detained over 8,000 Palestinian children in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 2000 (“The impact of child detention: Occupied Palestinian Territory,” March 2012).
The report found that most of the children were handcuffed and blindfolded during their arrest — which was most often carried out on suspicion that the children threw stones — and that they were almost always interrogated and held without access to a lawyer or their parents.
Nearly all children (98 percent) were subjected to physical or psychological violence during their arrest and detention, the report found, and 90 percent of children suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Addameer, the Ramallah-based Palestinian prisoners’ support and human rights association, has reported that as of 1 September this year, some 194 Palestinian children were held in Israeli detention centers, including 30 below the age of 16 (“Key Issues: Children,” Addameer website).
[TW: Sexual Violence] By failing to investigate effectively sexual violence against women, the Colombian authorities are sending a dangerous message to perpetrators that they can continue to rape and sexually abuse without fear of the consequences–
Colombian authorities fail to stop or punish sexual violence against women via Amnesty International
The report Colombia: Hidden from justice. Impunity for conflict-related sexual violence, a follow-up report examines efforts made by the authorities over the past year to ensure those suspected of criminal responsibility for sexual violence in the country’s long-running armed conflict face justice.
In the context of Colombia’s armed conflict, women are targets of sexual violence to sow terror within communities to force them to flee their land, wreak revenge on the enemy, control the sexual and reproductive rights of female combatants or exploit women and girls as sexual slaves.
Sexual violence, particularly in the context of the conflict, is often not reported to the authorities as women are frequently too scared to talk, fear the stigmatization attached to being a survivor of sexual violence or believe the crime will not be effectively investigated.