The inability to offer workers an alternative employment is behind the P.A.’s decision to reconsider the proposal that would have prevented Palestinians from working in the West Bank settlements, Haaretz reported.The move to impede Palestinian employment in the settlements was mainly led by the Minister of National Economy Hassan Abu Libdeh and the Prime Minister Salad Fayyad, who pushed for a new law at the beginning of the year.
The P.A. cabinet has not provided details on the decision, but associates of Fayyad said there was no intention to pass the legislation without alternative employment for workers, since the P.A. does not want to harm Palestinians financially.
Haaretz reported that Palestinians working in settlements support a population of more than 200,000 and stressed that, if the law had been applied, it would have affected the living standard of several Palestinian families.
According to Israeli sources, from September 2009 until now, the number of Palestinian employees in illegal settlements with Israeli permission has risen from 22,000 to 35,000, proving that the construction of housing units has not stopped at any time, even during the recent so-called negotiations between Israel and Palestinians.
In addition, non-governmental organizations warned there are also 10,000 Palestinians working in settlements with no valid permission, mainly in permanent employment contracts.
At the beginning of the year, Hassan Abu Libdeh announced the draft of a new law through which the P.A. sought to prevent Palestinians from taking jobs in Israeli settlements. The law was supposed to be the most determined P.A.’s policy against the settlements economy, besides the campaign against the purchase of products from the settlements.
‘My population, my society, is contributing to the lifeline of settlements, so I am targeting this contribution,’ Abu Libdeh claimed at that time.
Today, nearly 300,000 settlers live in more than 120 illegal settlements in the West Bank. Israeli government’s refusal to stop the building and the establishment of settlements in occupied Palestinian land has been considered the biggest obstacle to achieve peace within the recently failed peace talks.