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8 Mai 2024

Israel: Measures to replace Palestinian workers prompt accusations of complicity in forced displacement and dispossession of Palestinians and disregard for safety of incoming migrant workers

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I think 70% to 80% of us from Malawi are having these problems with payment.
Malawian farmworker in Israel

Recent agreement attempts by Israel with the governments of Malawi, Kenya, Sri Lanka and India to replace Palestinian workers in the agricultural and construction sectors have raised ethical and safety concerns among human rights NGOs, trade unions and activists. The ethical concern relates to the African and Asian government, by sending their workers, being now complicit in the forced displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian population and further encouraging the expansion of the illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank. Further criticism relates to the reports of mistreatment and abuse of migrant workers in Israel, and that the rush to replace the Palestinian workers with migrant workers will only create worse living and working conditions for the oncoming migrant workers amid war conditions.

These recent measures follow the release of thousands of Palestinian workers and their expulsion into Gaza after they were arrested from Israel and the West Bank. The workers were allegedly tortured and severely mistreated by Israeli forces that reportedly left two Palestinian workers dead, according to Israel based NGOs.

An article published by the BBC in May 2024 alleges migrants from Malawi working on farms in Israel have left their jobs due to poor working conditions, including payments lower to those promised in their contracts. Some workers are allegedly being paid below the minimum wage. An later BBC article says the workers who left their jobs have been arrested and deported.