Kedar Khedery and Shira Kherson-Suderman report on the wages paid to Israeli education and workforce workers in occupied territories.
The report by the Bimkom-based education and labor association is based on interviews with about 20 Palestinian education and manpower workers, teachers and other staff members in the territories.
The union said the average wage for a Palestinian teacher was about $4.50 per month, which is below the Israeli minimum wage of $7.25 per month.
Khedery said many of the Palestinian education workers were employed by local educational organizations or by educational institutions in occupied Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
The education and training workers, who include students and parents, have been employed by Israeli education organizations in the West Bank and East Jerusalem for more than a decade.
Khersson-Sudsman said they were paid a low wage and many were forced to take on illegal jobs in the areas where the Israeli settlements are located.
“They are being exploited to the extent that they are not being able to do their work, which would not have happened without the settlements,” Khersey said.
“In some cases they are forced to work at dangerous locations and in some cases, to work on construction sites, in the settlements.
Some are working as construction workers in illegal settlements.”
She said many Palestinian education staff members were paid salaries that are below the Palestinian average, which was about 40% of their total salary.
Khersey and Suderman said Palestinian education employees were forced into illegal labor.
Khedersey said that in the past year alone, she saw an increase in the number of illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, and that illegal construction workers are also being exploited.
Kheydar said that Palestinian educators were often forced to go to the West Wall and then work for the Israeli occupation in order to earn their salaries.
“They were paid for their work in the schools and they are also forced to sell the produce and then sell it on the market,” Kheydars said.
She said the Palestinian teachers were paid an average of $1.10 per month and they were sometimes paid extra for extra work.
Khesher said that, in some instances, the Palestinian educators’ salaries were not paid when the Israeli government paid them, but when the salaries were withheld by the Israeli army.
“In some instances it’s the Israeli military, the Israeli police or the army of occupation, and the Palestinian Education Ministry [is] involved in that, withholding the salaries,” Khesher explained.
“I believe the Palestinian Authority is involved in these issues.
We have been hearing about it for a long time.
There is nothing new about it.”
The Khersons said that for many of these teachers, there were also problems with their families.
Kheyser said that many of them did not have enough money to pay their bills.
“There are some that are in poverty,” Khedersaid.
“The other one is the teacher who is very poor and he works on a construction site, and there are a lot of problems.”
Kheser said many teachers were also required to work outside of school hours, sometimes in the summer, when the summer holidays were over, which she said is very dangerous for teachers.
She added that in some places, the children are not allowed to visit their parents because of the illegal settlements.
“When children go out, their parents are afraid and they don’t want them to visit them because it would bring them to the attention of the Israeli soldiers, so they stay in their homes and do not come to school,” Keshersaid, who is also a member of the Education Ministry, said.
Kheser added that there were cases of children being taken away from their parents, including the children of the teachers.
Khashay said that the teachers’ salaries have not been increased in recent years.
She noted that the salaries are also not being paid for the school year.
“The teachers who have been working here for the last 10 years, they are the ones who get paid the highest salaries, and it is a very big difference,” Khashay, who has worked for the Education Department for over 15 years, said, adding that some teachers were forced not to take their salaries with them because of this.
Kesher said some Palestinian education teachers were required to perform manual labor in the settlement towns of Arnon and Ma’aleh Adumim.
The Education Ministry in the Palestinian territories said that they do not employ any manual labor workers in their settlements, but that they would continue to monitor the situation.
“There are very many children who are doing manual labor for the occupation in these settlements, and if they work for us, we do not take their salary,” Kashay said.
Kesher added that teachers who had been working for the Palestinian government were also paid very poorly.
“Some teachers were getting salaries of $5,000 and others got