PA Union Fears Boycott

PA labor leader wants job guarantees before boycott of working for Jews in Judea and Samaria is implemented. PA economist: boycott not justified.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu , | updated: 08:17

Sharing a drink at construction site.
Sharing a drink at construction site.
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority’s proposed ban on Arabs working in Judea and Samaria may boomerang as workers fear job losses when the new policy is to be implemented early next year. Thousands more PA Arabs will be unemployed.

Shaher Saed, chairman of the General Union for Palestinian Workers, said he supports the decision but that before the ban takes effect, the PA should first find jobs for the workers to avoid their joining another 100,000 Arabs on the unemployment rolls.

More than 10,000 Arabs are estimated to be working in Judea and Samaria, most of them on construction projects and approximately 3000 in factories and businesses in the Barkan industrial park in Samaria.

Many of the building workers already have lost jobs because of the temporary freeze on new homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria. The freeze is scheduled to end in late September, but the Arab world is demanding it be extended as a condition for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to sit down with Israel for direct talks on the creation of the PA as a new Arab country.

Hassan Abu Lebda, the Palestinian minister of national economy, told Chinese news agency Xinhua that the ban on PA Arabs working for Jews in Judea and Samaria will go into effect in early 2011 as part of the general policy of boycotting all Jewish goods and services in Judea and Samaria. He insisted that a new special fund will create new jobs and offer loans to workers who stop working in Jewish communities.

However, PA economist Nael Musa thinks it will not be so easy to implement the policy. "This action of the PA to bar workers from working in the settlements would not be justified amid the increasing rate of unemployment in the Palestinian territories which is still under the Israeli control," he said. “The PA won't be able to create new job opportunities for those workers."

David HaIvri, director of the Samarian (Shomron) Liaison office, told Israel National News Sunday, "Wouldn't it be nice if the Arabs could make up their minds about co-existing with Israel. On the one hand they keep threatening to boycott the Jewish "settlements" by not supplying workers. On the other hand they realize that by doing so they will cause they own to go hungry."