Hundreds of Palestinian workers conducted a sit-in today at Erez Checkpoint, the crossing point from the northern Gaza Strip Beit Hanoun area into Israeli territory. It is the only route to reach their jobs as part of Israel’s low-wage labor force. The crossing is closed more often than not, and when it is open, the humiliations are rampant.
During the nonviolent demonstration, the Palestinians demanded the possibility of a decent life, which they equated simply to being able to feed their children.
The workers pushed for appropriate solutions to alleviate their suffering, calling upon the United Nations to use its legal and moral standing to uphold international law on behalf of the Palestinian people.
The workers picketed at the crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israeli territory Monday morning. A sign read, “We want a decent life for our children and an end to the blockade against our people.”
The Palestinians are unable to find work in the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces destroyed much of the agricultural lands and factories therefore rely on work inside Israeli borders as part of Israel’s low-wage labor force. It seems a simple enough request, however part of the Israeli policy is clearly to starve the occupied population into submission.
The Coordinator of the Independent Labor Committee told PNN Monday, “Our message to the world and Israel is that the financial blockade is truly having catastrophic effects on the Palestinian working class.”
He added, “The workers, including their children, are now at risk for severe malnutrition and many are on the verge of starvation and even death.”
Among the demonstrators was a worker who told PNN, “We have a family of 12. Four of them are children studying in universities and high schools. This takes a great deal of money in and of itself and now there is none for food. We have the right to provide a decent life for our children and families by meeting the most basic needs.”
The worker, who asked to remain anonymous, continued, “The importance of supporting the demands of workers and responsibilities towards labor places the case at all levels. I am calling on all human rights and humanitarian organizations, international and local, to stand by the workers and to put pressure on Israel to open the Beit Hanoun Crossing in order to allow the worker access to their places of work inside the Green Line.”