thousands of palestinian workers have gone missing amid war
Thousands of Palestinian workers from the Gaza Strip have gone missing in Israel amid the ongoing conflict between Hamas fighters and Israeli troops.
Israel has reportedly revoked work permits of Palestinian workers. Palestinian workers’ families fear that they may be imprisoned in Israel as they are waiting for their return.
The Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated places on earth, is home to thousands of Palestinian people. The unemployment rate is higher in the Gaza Strip. Many Palestinian go to Israel to earn money.
Palestinian workers in Israel
In 2021, Palestinians in Gaza got access to work permits to earn a living as workers in Israel. Israel issued work permits to Palestinians through a quota system. Those who secured work permits faced daily challenges.
Currently, around 19,000 Palestinians from Gaza work in Israel. Yasmin, a Palestinian trade union organizer, has said that Palestinian workers work the most dangerous and physically demanding jobs in Israel. They mainly work in construction, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors.
Yasmin said, “There are many deaths in the construction sector. Palestinian workers are the lowest paid and most exploited.”
Thousands of Palestinian workers have gone missing
When Hamas launched an offensive against Israel on 7 October, the Erez crossing into the Gaza Strip was completely closed. Thousands of Palestinian laborers were stranded in Israel with no source of income. Their work permits were revoked by the Israeli authorities.
Shaher Saed, general secretary of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), said, “Some are missing, some are stranded, some have been arrested, and others have been deported to the West Bank.”
Muhammad Aruri, head of legal affairs for the General Union of Palestinian Workers, said that 5,000 Palestinian workers went missing in Israel. They were detained and interrogated. Muhammad Aruri said, “We don’t know if they are dead or alive.” Many Palestinian workers in Israel fled and sought to make their way to the West Bank.
Reportedly, at least 4,000 Palestinian workers from the Gaza Strip are currently held by Israeli authorities. The Israel-Hamas conflict has caused humanitarian catastrophe in the region. Catherine Russell, who currently serves as Executive Director of UNICEF, said that ‘Gaza is heading for humanitarian catastrophe.’