The decades-old war on Palestinian workers

Palestinian workers have faced decades of abuse and marginalisation by Israel, Arab regimes and the PA.

Palestinian workers wait to cross the Israeli-controlled Al-Jalama checkpoint as they head to work in Israel,

Ramzy Baroud writes in Al Jazeera:

Over the past month, the Lebanese authorities have unleashed a brutal crackdown on Palestinian workers. In June, Lebanese Minister of Labour Kamil Abu Sleiman decreed that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon must obtain work permits like other foreign workers.

This move added to the already precarious situation of many Palestinian workers who are not only barred from employment in 72 professions in Lebanon, but over the past few years have also been forced to compete with Syrian refugees, equally desperate to find jobs.

In response, Palestinian refugees have protested en masse in Beirut and throughout the refugee camps, not only against what they rightly saw as an unfair decision, but also against Lebanon’s decades-old official policies which have contributed to Palestinian economic and political alienation.

It is important to see these developments not only in the context of the current political climate in Lebanon, but also within the broader context of the Palestinian workers’ historic struggle against colonialism, capitalist exploitation, and domestic feudalism. The battles Palestinian workers have fought across multiple frontlines – from Israel to the Occupied Territories, Lebanon and elsewhere – have always been at the heart of the Palestinian struggle for basic human rights.

Palestine’s three enemies

In his essay, “The 1936-39 Revolt in Palestine”, published shortly before his assassination, Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani argued that three enemies pose the “principal threat” to the Palestinian national movement: “the local, reactionary leadership; the regimes in the Arab states surrounding Palestine; and the imperialist-Zionist enemy”.

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