How do you stop Palestinians unionizing? Cancel their entry permits

An Israeli employer of Palestinians inside a West Bank settlement, with the help of Israeli authorities, is exploiting the military permit regime in order stop his workers from unionizing, a High Court petition alleges.

Employees at the Zarfati Garage in Mishur Adumim vote to strike on July 22, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Ma’an workers union)
Employees at the Zarfati Garage in Mishur Adumim vote to strike on July 22, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Ma’an workers union)

In order to sabotage the unionization of Palestinian workers, the owner of an Israeli car garage filed a false police complaint against one of the union organizers, a High Court petition filed Monday by the Ma’an Workers Advice Center alleges.

Hatem Abu Ziadeh, the leader of the Palestinian workers at Zarfaty Garage, located in the West Bank Mishor Adumim industrial park, had his permit to enter his workplace revoked by the Israel Police and Civil Administration after his employer filed a complaint alleging that he was intimidating other employees, the petition states.

The High Court petition seeks an injunction ordering the Israeli army to reinstate Abu Ziadeh’s permit to enter the Israeli-controlled industrial zone. According to a 2007 High Court decision, the protections of Israeli labor law apply to Israeli businesses operating in the West Bank and their Palestinian employees.

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“This petition is about the improper use of the West Bank permit regime in order to harm the Zarfaty Garage’s employees’ [ability] to organize,” Ma’an wrote in a statement.

Abu Ziadeh has worked at the Zarfaty Garage for 17 years. Ma’an alleges that the police complaint and subsequent revocation of Abu Ziadeh’s permit was an attempt to circumvent labor laws that forbid the dismissal of union leaders in order to stop workers from organizing.

“It is entirely clear that the complaint, on the basis of which the Zarfaty Garage workers’ leader’s permit was revoked, was a false complaint [made] by an interested party, who changed his version of events three times in one week,” a statement by Ma’an said.

The following video report was produced by Israel Social TV earlier this summer, after Zarfaty’s Palestinian employees launched a labor strike.

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