Workers Advice Centre, Monthly report, August 2005

In this issue:

Israeli terrorist murders 4 Palestinians
WAC delegation mourns the victims
Gazan workers left without work and without rights
‘Wisconsin plan’ in Israel – The wrong programme in the wrong place
Israel’s poverty report shows disastrous effects of neo-liberal reforms


1. Israeli Terrorist Murders 4 Palestinian Workers in a settlement near Nablus

NABLUS, August 17, 2005, (WAFA)- 4 workers were murdered and two others wounded by an Israeli terrorist south of the West Bank city of Nablus. Security sources said that an Israeli terrorist opened fire at a group of Palestinian workers in an industrial zone belonging to the settlement of Shiloh, near Nablus.The sources added that the terrorist, who works as a driver, opened fire at a group of Palestinian workers killing two and targeted another group killing one more and wounding others.

Local sources said that the victims are from the two villages of Qariot and Turmos’ayya, near Nablus. On August 4, an Israeli soldier opened fire at a bus killing 5 Palestinian Israeli Arabs and wounded ten others, in the city of Shefam’r, north of Israel.

See also:
Four Palestinians Killed by Israeli Settler in the West Bank
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4111.shtml
The orphans of Sinjil – Ha’aretz, 26th August, 2005
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/617299.html

PGFTU condemns the criminal action by an Israeli settler
http://www.pgftu.org/english.htm

2. WAC’s delegation mourns the victims of the Jewish terrorist in Shefam’r

A delegation of WAC activists and the Working Youth Movement paid a visit to Shefam’r on Saturday August, 6th to commemorate the 4 dead who were the victims of the Jewish terrorist two days earlier. The delegation included leading members of WAC and 15 members of the “”A-shabiba al Umalia” – WAC’s youth group. The delegation put flowers on the graves of the 4 dead and visited the families. Assaf Adiv, WAC’s national Coordinator spoke in the home of the Turki Family who lost two daughters (both were students). Later on Ahmad Turki – a member of WAC who is a relative of the dead girls – led the delegation to the cemetery were the delegation put flowers on the grave where the two sisters were buried together. (see picture)Read more:
A construction worker who was on the bus recounts cornering terrorist
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/609133.html

Thousands honor attack victims
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3123120,00.html

3. Gazan workerts left without work and without rights

Following Israel’s withdrawl from Gaza and the dismanteling of the Settlements and the Erez Industrial Zone thousands of Palestinan workers lost their jobs with no alternative work places. Moreover some 4500 workers in Erez Industrial Zone and 3000 in the Settlements were not given compensation. The settlers that employed them said that they were “forcefully” evacuated therefore it is the obligation of the state to compensate them. WAC has made contact with Workers organizations in Gaza to help workers get their rights. We will update on this as soon as we have more information

See more in:
Gaza settlement Palestinian and migrant workers’ right to compensation http://www.kavlaoved.org.il/katava_main.asp?news_id=1507&sivug_id=4

Cheap labor, cheap deal
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=613498

No compensation for Arabs losing their jobs in Gush Katif http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/612289.html

4. Wisconsin Plan in Israel – The Wrong Program in the Wrong Place

An article due to be printed in Challenge Magazine Sep. 2005
We print here the first part of the article. You will be able to read it in WAC’s site after Sep 20. Those who want it sooner can ask us for the full text to be sent to them soon as attachment in Microsoft word format.

In Early August 2005, the first, experimental steps were taken to implement the Wisconsin Plan in Israel – or as it is named here, Me-ha-Lev: “From the Heart.” Originating in the US State of Wisconsin in the mid 1990’s, it signals a new stage in the privatization of social services, with the aim of eliminating the welfare state. Although the official purpose is to move the jobless from welfare to “workfare,” the real goal is to reduce expenditures by punishing the poor.

Indeed, the proportion of Israelis receiving welfare is way out of line in comparison with most Western states. If there were jobs, it would certainly make sense to help them shift to “workfare.” The problem is that there are no jobs. In the Israeli version, the Wisconsin mechanism is set up to strike thousands of people from the caseload without assuring them of employment.

Israel’s annual Poverty Report, published on August 9, puts it first among western countries in poverty among children. After distribution of welfare payments, a third of Israel’s children (714,000) are below the poverty line (half the median income). The western country occupying second place in poor children, with 27%, is the US. Like much of what arrives these days with the tag “Made in America,” the Wisconsin Plan will deepen poverty.

With the rise of the second Sharon government, in partnership with the neo-liberal Shinui Party, the conditions were ripe for Wisconsin. The Knesset approved the plan in 2003. It jibed well with the reforms of then Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which included privatization (of the ports, the pension funds, the major telephone company) and drastic cuts in welfare (for the jobless, the physically challenged, single-parent families, and families with children).

During its initial stage, “From the Heart” includes 17,000 of the 160,000 who receive income maintenance. The plan will proceed on an experimental basis for two years in four centers: East and West Jerusalem; Nazareth and Nazareth Ilit; Hadera and the villages of Wadi Ara; and Ashkelon. 30% will be Arabs and 20% new immigrants.

The program will be run by four companies that won the tender. One prerequisite was that each Israeli company had to team up with a foreign company that has already “done Wisconsin” in its own land…

5. Israel’s Poverty report shows the disastrous effects of the Government’s Neo liberal reforms.

The growth in child poverty in 2004 in comparison to 2003 is a clear proof of the true nature of the Government policy including the Welfare to Workfare program (see point 4 in this report). The report released by the Israeli National Insurance Institute (NII) says that poverty rates grew by about 50 percent since 1998, with about a third of all children living below the poverty line. Meanwhile, 28,000 additional families dropped below the poverty line in 2004, comprising 107,000 Israelis, 61,000 of them children. Arab citizens’ poverty and unemployment is graver than the general Israeli situation due to systematic discrimination, confiscation of lands and all other means of subsistence.

Read more:
Israel leads West in child poverty
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3124397,00.html

Poverty report: 1 in 3 children poor
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3124357,00.html

Easy Comparison – a new databank on the socio-economic situation of Arab Citizens in Israel – Shows a comparison in basic indicators between Israeli Jews and Arabs.
http://www.rikaz.org/en/index.php?s=easy_comp

We suggest to all our reader to go to Challenge Magazine site www.hanitzotz/com/challenge
where you could find a lot of related information. For a one time hard copy of Challenge Magazine contact Editor: Roni Ben Efrat at oda@netvision.net.il



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