Palestinian workers who comprise part of the low-wage Israeli labor force are subjected to brutality as they try to reach work, in their places of employment, and are often arrested, according to a new report by the Palestinian Workers Union.
Israeli police arrested 60 Palestinian workers on Saturday inside Israeli boundaries under the pretext of being there without permits. The workers were employed in the former Palestinian coastal city of Haifa.
They were arrested, banned from work for one month, and fined 5,000 shekels. But first they were severely beaten.A report issued by the Palestinian Workers Union indicated that large numbers of border guards stormed several houses and workshops in Haifa in search of Palestinian laborers.
One worker who managed to escape said that the ensuing assault was brutal. “Soldiers harassed them, stomped on their feet and limbs, the beatings were torturous lasting for three hours, and then they were arrested.
”At 8:00 pm Saturday Israeli border guards surrounded a house in suburban Haifa where several employees of a nearby factory lived. The man who managed to escape told PNN, “There were at least 20 heavily armed soldiers. They spotted some of my colleagues leaving and others began to hide. What I witnessed was harsher than detention. The soldiers drug them out into the square in front of the house, knocked them to the ground and began trampling them. Literally trampling on their bodies. And hurling insults, harsh speech.”
The man continued, “Then they forced Marwan to take off his clothes under the threat of shooting. The guns were trained straight on him. He had to strip and was savagely beaten. Then they left him lying naked on the ground while other soldiers searched the house.
“After about an hour of searching the house, they took another, Munir Saleh and forced him to the ground and beat him with clubs and rifle butts. Another they were beating him in the head and then they hit Wajih Subhi with sticks in the chest and forced him to take his clothes off.
“It wasn't over yet. They took a group into a room in the house,including Abdel Kahleq Yousef Arafat. I could hear voices shouting, it was clear they were being questioned. And then I could hear beatings which lasted about half an hour. They pulled out Abdel Khaleq and the other four workers and arrested them.”
The Union statement filled in the rest. In the Haifa police station the Palestinians were interrogated by Israeli intelligence officers. The workers said they did their jobs in order to feed their children.
Israeli forces have stepped up campaigns against workers as Palestinian appeals to humanitarian and international institutions for help are asking that pressure be put on the Israelis to stop “destroying the lives of Palestinians.”