200,000 Palestinian Workers Lose Jobs in Israel

By Eileen Schuhmann | Presbyterian Hunger Program

Karima, an agricultural worker, picking peppers in Tzrufa, Israel in June 2016. Photo by Noa Kozak.

Israel’s war in Gaza has caused hardship for all Palestinians, including Palestinian workers. Before the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7, 2023, 200,000 Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank were employed in Israel. Then Israel closed checkpoints and all 200,000 Palestinians were suspended from working in Israel, leaving families without sources of income for more than 3 months.

According to the MAAN Workers Association (formerly Workers Advice Center), a former longtime partner of the Presbyterian Hunger Program, this loss of income carries huge ramifications because the income “represents 20% of the Palestinian gross National Product, close to 4 billion dollars each year.”

Employment opportunities within Palestinian territories are very limited so it isn’t possible for those workers to find work at home. And there is no social safety net for these workers to fall back on. This means more and more Palestinian families are falling into poverty and will suffer from hunger.

Nearly a quarter of Palestinians were already unemployed in 2023 before the conflict started on October 7, with a jobless rate of 45.1% in the Gaza Strip and 12.9% in the West Bank. And according to the U.N., 1.15 million people in Gaza and 450,000 people in the West Bank were already in need of humanitarian assistance back in January 2023.

Israeli employers are also suffering major losses especially in agriculture and construction due to the loss of their workforce.

MAAN Workers Association continues to advocate for Palestinian workers to return to their places of employment in Israel.

You can read more about this issue in articles by MAAN Workers Associations below:

Ban of Palestinian workers creates powder keg in the West Bank

Open the Gates of Israel for the return of Palestinian workers

TAKE ACTION! Urge elected officials to call for a ceasefire, press parties to abide by international law, release hostages and protect civilians, and support humanitarian aid and access to Gaza!

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