Palestine

Almost one million Palestinian Arabs live in Israel proper. The West Bank and Gaza is home to nearly three million more. The overwhelming majority of both groups live in poverty and squalor. A recent article in The Jerusalem Post stated that 44.5 percent of Israeli Arab families live below the poverty line. The figure only increases as you cross the green line (the line separating Israeli proper from the West Bank and Gaza territories) where the unemployment rate regularly hovers above the 50 percent mark.

"Inshallah, (with God’s help) there will be peace," says the Palestinian man I encountered during my travels in East Jerusalem. He speaks some Hebrew, and I learn his name is Sa’id and that he lives in the West Bank town of Jenin.

Sa’id is one of the lucky ones. He has a work permit that allows him to cross into Israel where he can find steady work as a day labourer. Before the intifadah began, more than 100,000 Palestinians worked as day labourers in Israel (mainly in constuction jobs). Today, the number is less than 50,000.


Title page / Next page