Palestinian human rights activist: BDS hurts us more than Israel

While Israelis are rarely directly impacted by the BDS movement, Palestinians who lose their jobs because of it suffer the immediate consequences of this anti-Israel movement.

By TPS

Israel’s economy is strong and resilient to the effects of BDS, but every Palestinian who loses his job at an Israeli factory as a result of boycotts is thrown back into the Palestinian market which suffers from chronic unemployment, Palestinian human rights activist Bassem Eid said Sunday at the Deutscher Israelkongress in Frankfurt.

“The rate of unemployment in the Palestinian Authority is extremely high and the lucky ones who can find work in the PA earn about a quarter of what they would earn in the Israeli market,” Eid said at the pro-Israel conference.

Meanwhile, Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan and the mayor of the Jordan Valley Regional Council David Elhayani presented data at the conference Monday on Palestinian employment in Judea and Samaria.

According to data from Israel’s Civil Administration some 25,000 workers, 18,000 of which are Palestinians, are employed in the joint economic zones located within Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics also cites that Palestinians working in Israeli jobs account for 11.7% of the Arab workforce in Judea and Samaria in 2014, and their total salaries in those areas in 2013 made up 12.3% of the GDP of the entire PA.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2015 the wages of Palestinians working in Israel were significantly higher than the salaries of Palestinians employed in the PA. The average daily wage of Palestinians working for Israelis was NIS 187.5, twice the daily average wage of NIS 90.9.

In comparison to Gaza, Palestinians who worked in the settlements, the Jordan Valley, and the joint industrial zones earned three times more than their compatriots in the Gaza Strip, who earn NIS 63.9 on average a day.

According to the data presented, the average hourly wage (assuming that the working week is 6 days), for a Palestinian working in Israel is NIS 29.5, compared to only NIS 12.49 in the PA and NIS 11.7 in the Gaza Strip. Among Palestinian workers in Israel, wages of workers in construction, transportation, storage and communications industries are the highest (average daily wage of NIS 220.9 and NIS 209.8, respectively).

In the PA, the industries with the highest average daily wage are transportation, storage and communications, as well as the service industry (NIS 114.1 and NIS 106.9, respectively). In the Gaza Strip the most lucrative industries are services (NIS 82.7), as well as construction (NIS 33.5).

Erdan and Elhayani said the data highlights the fallacies of boycott activists’ actions against factories in Judea, Samaria and in the Jordan Valley directly and significantly affect the economic wellbeing of both Palestinians and the Palestinian economy.

Elhayani presented figures showing to the conference that the livelihood for thousands of Jewish and Palestinian families in the area has been devastated as a result of BDS.

The situation is particularly grave among pepper farmers who have been forced to divert pepper exports from Western Europe to Russia and Eastern Europe, where prices are 30 to 50 percent lower, resulting in estimated losses of 100 million shekels.

“Boycotts against our products mean boycotts against Palestinians and Israelis families alike. The economic warfare waged against our farming communities only increases suffering for all parties involved and does nothing towards creating dialog,” Elhayani said.