The Struggle for Palestinian Workers' Rights in Israeli Settlements: The Case of Maan v. Zarfati Garage
labor law
labor courts

This article focuses on the story of the Israeli union, Maan Workers Association, and Hatem Abu Ziadeh, a Palestinian man who works at Zarfati Garage in the settlement of Mishor Adumim. Maan assisted Abu Ziadeh in his desire to unionize the Palestinian workers in the garage and to demand their labor rights according to Israeli labor laws. The article follows the multiyear court case as the Zarfati Garage tried to break the union and fire Abu Ziadeh. After three and half years, the two sides signed a contractual agreement bringing an end to the labor dispute. In the context of Israel as an ethnocratic state, whereby there is an appearance of democracy, Palestinians are systematically discriminated against while the state privileges Israeli Jewish citizens. Maan’s efforts are unique – a union that does not discriminate by religion, race, or nationality, but demands labor rights and equality for all exploited workers. The complexities of this account go beyond questions of law, labor rights, and court proceedings to larger issues concerning the future of a Palestinian state and what laws will govern people between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River.

Author biography: 

Ethan Morton-Jerome completed his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Arkansas in 2018. His fieldwork and dissertation focused on Palestinian labor in West Bank settlements.

Read more