Translation of the state comptroller's report on the Industrial Zones in the oPtJun 2012
The State Comptroller's report examines aspects of law enforcement in the industrial zones under Israeli administration in the OPT. Amongst others were examined matters related to the enforcement of labour laws, among them safety and hygiene labour laws and the requirement of paying minimum wage and insuring workers. The audit was conducted in the IDF – Central Command, in the Unit of Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and the Civil Administration in the Area of Judea and Samaria, in some of the industrial zones in OPT and among them the Tulkarem (“Mesila”) and “Alei Zahav” industrial zones.
- Enforcement of Labour Laws in Israeli Factories in the OPT
A few of the Israeli legislative statutory provisions concerning labour law further apply only to labour relations between Israeli employers and Israeli employed and only in the area of the Israeli settlements in the OPT. From the audit we see that even though four years have passed since the day of the High Court of Justice ruling from October 2007, in which it was determined that the existing distinction between an Israeli worker and a Palestinian worker employed in the OPT is, in the circumstances, invalid, the work of the inter-ministerial special staff on the topic of examining the need to amend the security legislation concerning labour laws is only just beginning.
The Civil Administration and Ministry of Industry, Trade and Employment did not take care to conduct ongoing audits in factories under Israeli administration in the OPT in order to enforce the obligation to pay minimum wage by Israeli employers in the OPT: In the period April 2006 and until June 2010, the Ministry of Industry conducted an audit in only four industrial zones out of twenty, and from June 2010 and until June 2011 no ongoing audits were conducted; the bulk of its actions were conducted following complaints. In these circumstances, harm is liable to be caused to the salary of all workers employed in the OPT and as seen in documents of the Civil Administration, harm was caused to the salary of the Palestinian workers and their rights. Additionally, as of August 2010 the Civil Administration and Ministry of Industry did not conduct an audit on the subject of workplace safety and hygiene in the factories under Israeli administration in the OPT, in order to ensure the safety and health of the workers there.
The Civil Administration did not enforce the Statutory provisions of the Order Concerning Insurance for Workplace Injuries (Judea and Samaria), (Number 662), 1976, and did not supervise the Israeli employers in everything concerning fulfilling their obligation to acquire insurance policies for the Palestinian workers they employ outside the areas of the Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria, as mandated in this order.
- Industrial Zones “Mesila” and “Alei Zahav”
The existing construction and infrastructures in the “Mesila” industrial zone do not correspond with the urban planning plan which was approved in 1994; buildings were constructed without building permits, occasionally through the takeover of lands; all of the factories in the industrial zone are functioning without the necessary employment permits from the Civil Administration; the Civil Administration issued to the factories in the industrial zone permits to employ hundreds of Palestinian workers in contravention of the Order Concerning Prohibition of Employment, which prohibits Israelis from employing workers without employment permits; there are serious environmental hazards in the industrial zone.
In March 2004, the Commander of IDF Forces in the OPT signed the Order for
Confiscating Land (henceforth: Confiscation Order) for the purpose of establishing a wall on the eastern side of the “Mesila” industrial zone. The wall was built by deviating from the route determined in the Confiscation Order and through an invasion into private Palestinian property; up until conclusion of conduct of this audit, June 2011, the Civil Administration did not execute the demolition order for the wall that was issued in December 2005 by the Sub-Committee for Supervision of the High Planning Council of the Civil Administration; the confiscation order was not renewed as it expired in December 2005, and the land confiscation continued in practice also at the time of concluding this audit, June 2011.
The “Alei Zahav” industrial zone is functioning without an approved urban planning plan, and all the factories in it are functioning without building permits and without employment permits. Despite this, the Civil Administration granted these factories permits to employ Palestinian workers; the industrial zone functions without development infrastructures and sewage infrastructure, all the while harming the environment.