Workers excluded from labour protections
Palestinians’ access to work in Israel and the illegal settlements is tightly controlled through a repressive permit system, security checks and checkpoints. Only Palestinians with valid work permits can be ‘legally’ employed by Israeli businesses. Out of the estimated 133,000 Palestinian workers in Israel and the illegal settlements, roughly 94,000 had a work permit. The overwhelming majority (99 per cent) of permit holders are men, and most work in the construction sector.
Permits are issued for a duration of up to six months but can be arbitrarily annulled at any time by employers or Israel’s security services. Employers often used the threat of annulling permits to discipline workers who join unions, demand rights, or are involved in any form of political activity.