Palestinian workers in West Bank, Gaza mark Labor Day, call for rights

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-01 23:05:46|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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GAZA/RAMALLAH, May 1 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip marked on Wednesday the Labor Day and demanded for their rights.

Dozens of workers and leaders of various Palestinian factions and political powers rallied in the West Bank city of Ramallah upon the call of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions to mark the day.

The demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and carried banners calling for improvement of their living condition and protection for the rights of Palestinian workers, who have been suffering from a severe recession in the Palestinian territories.

Nasri Abu Jeish, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Minister of Labor, said that his ministry has prioritized the amendment of the minimum wage of workers on its agenda in the next phase.

He added that the situation of workers would witness a significant change in the era of the new Palestinian government, noting that all issues that affected the workers' living condition were put on the table of discussion and dialogue.

Shaher Saed, secretary general of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, called on the Palestinian businessmen who live abroad to invest in Palestine, adding "investment in Palestine would contribute to reducing unemployment rates."

Saed, who unveiled that there are 400,000 unemployed Palestinians, called on the international community to help the Palestinians end the Israeli occupation and ensure a life of dignity for the Palestinian workers.

In the Gaza Strip which is ruled by Islamic Hamas movement, dozens of workers demonstrated to mark the day. They waved Palestinian flags and carried banners written "workers without work."

The demonstrators also called on Israel to end a blockade of around 12 years that has been imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007. They said that the Israeli blockade had caused unprecedented high rates of poverty and unemployment.

Sami al-Amassi, representative of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions in Gaza, called on the international community to exert heavier pressure on Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza.

"The siege that Israel imposes on Gaza brought the entire situation to a catastrophe," he said, adding that "Israel has turned the Gaza Strip into the biggest and largest prison in the world."

He said that the number of unemployed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has reached 295,000 and the rate of unemployment climbed to 52 percent while the rate of poverty reached 80 percent.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Businessmen Association warned of further deterioration of the workers' living situation in the Gaza Strip in the coming year, if the Israeli siege is not lifted.

Ali al-Hayyek, chairman of the association, said that both the Israeli siege and the internal Palestinian division between Hamas and Fatah Movement are major factors for the high rate of unemployment.

He unveiled that the 12-year siege had damaged 500 industrial establishments in the enclave, adding "we have to make plans in order to save our economy."

Israel imposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip right after Hamas movement violently seized control of the enclave in 2007. Since then, the economy in the enclave has been deteriorating and created a hard living situation for local people.

The Gaza-based Popular Committee against the Israeli Siege said in a press statement that the daily income of the Palestinian individual in the Gaza Strip is 2 U.S. dollars per day.