Our Voice from the Ground

Due to the lack of freedoms where we live here in Palestine, we have been forced to turn to the internet, which gives us the platform to make our voice heard. For too long, we Palestinians have had others speaking for us – either non-Palestinians or Palestinian brothers living overseas.

While many of them have good intentions in the fight against the occupation, they are also misguided in attaching themselves to the BDS movement.

Disconnected from our day-to-day life here in Palestine, they fail to realize that BDS is actually hurting us. We are tired of the chirping of academic birds from the ivory tower, who know very little of the reality on the ground. We want to show the world the truth first-hand.

Palestine

The Situation, Not The Solution

The factories in the illegal settlements on our occupied land that you seek to boycott employ us, Palestinians, and many of us would be unemployed or under-employed if we didn’t work for the Israelis. Furthermore, and unfortunately, the conditions and salaries in the companies of the occupiers are usually far better than anything we can find here in Palestine.

Since 2010, the number of Palestinians employed in the occupation economy has doubled, reaching approximately 92,000 in 2014.The minimum wage in the Israeli economy is 198 shekels per work day, whereas in our economy, it is a mere 91 shekels.

The fact is that we prefer to work for Zionist employers because we can count on better conditions there.

Market in Jericho

This would not be the case if we had our own country without the Israelis occupying us, but this is the situation we have to live with now. This was made clear in a September 2014 article published in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida:

“Whenever Palestinian workers have the opportunity to work for Israeli employers, they are quick to quit their jobs with their Palestinian employers – for reasons having to do with salaries and other rights.”

“The salaries of workers employed by Palestinians amount to less than half the salaries of those who work for Israeli employers in the areas of the Israel-occupied West Bank.”

As a proud and hardworking people, one day, inchallah, we will completely cease our dependency on occupiers and have our own sovereign nation.

We are a strong and hardworking people, with a rich heritage and a birthright in this land that has been denied. Our legacy is etched in the writings of Edward Said, and written in the stars discovered by the great Arab astronomers – our forefathers.

We will not live under the thumb of the occupier forever, but in the meantime, we must do what we can to survive.