‘Ripe for Abuse: Palestinian Child Labor in Israeli Agricultural Settlements in the West Bank’
Out of school, doing risky work for low pay
(Jerusalem) – Israeli settlement farms in the West Bank are using Palestinian child labor to grow, harvest, and pack agricultural produce, much of it for export, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The farms pay the children low wages and subject them to dangerous working conditions in violation of international standards.
The 74-page report, “Ripe for Abuse: Palestinian Child Labor in Israeli Agricultural Settlements in the West Bank,” documents that children as young as 11 work on some settlement farms, often in high temperatures. The children carry heavy loads, are exposed to hazardous pesticides, and in some cases have to pay themselves for medical treatment for work-related injuries or illness.
“Israel’s settlements are profiting from rights abuses against Palestinian children,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “Children from communities impoverished by Israel’s discrimination and settlement policies are dropping out of school and taking on dangerous work because they feel they have no alternatives, while Israel turns a blind eye.”
Human Rights Watch interviewed 38 children and 12 adults who work on seven settlement farms in the Jordan Valley area, which covers about 30 percent of the West Bank and where most large agricultural settlements are located.