Jan 28, 2022

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“Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates.  In the same day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD and it be sin in thee.” (Deuteronomy 24:14-15)

Israeli soldiers checking Palestinian workers at a roadblock. (Photo: Abir Sultan/Flash90)

Israeli soldiers checking Palestinian workers at a roadblock. (Photo: Abir Sultan/Flash90)

The Israeli Labor Court determined that Palestinian workers employed by Israelis in Judea and Samaria are still covered by Israeli labor laws and are therefore entitled to the same wage guarantees, deductions, contributions and benefits as everywhere else in the country. The ruling was issued on an appeal of a lower court decision, which had also ruled in favor of the employee.

The case in question revolved around a Palestinian who had been employed by an Israeli to work in an Israeli settlement in the Jordan Valley.  When the relationship between the man and his employer ended, the employee sued for payments related to his period of employment and termination.  The employer argued that the employee is not Israeli and that Israeli law is not applicable in Judea and Samaria.  Israel never annexed the region and it is considered internationally to be illegally occupied.

The Labor Court rejected the employer’s arguments on the basis of a 2007 precedent, that determined territorial relations are not the deciding factor in such contract disputes, but that wider circumstances must be taken into consideration.  The ruling determined that the precedent applies retroactively, as well, therefore covering the case in question.  The court rejected the employer’s claim that retroactive application would cause grave damages to Israeli employers in the West Bank and to the Palestinians they employ.

Despite the outcome being in his favor, the employee also appealed the lower court’s ruling, because he disagreed with how the court determined his period of employment, its contents, and the reasons for the termination.  His appeal was also rejected.

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