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New Regulations Would Impede Palestinians Seeking to Sue Israeli Employers

Jordan Valley farmers, who are frequently sued by their laborers for denial of basic rights, have welcomed new regulations.

Palestinian laborers who work in Israel will face a new obstacle when they try to fight for their rights in Israeli courts, under new regulations being advanced by MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked both of Habayit Hayehudi.
Under the regulations, a person who is not an Israeli citizen or who has no assets in Israel who seeks to sue his employer for labor law violations would have to submit a financial guarantee to the court, which will be forfeited if the court determines the complaint was frivolous. The initiative has been dubbed the “Jordan Valley regulations” since it mainly affects laborers in that area, and is being welcomed by Jordan Valley farmers. It does not require Knesset approval, and will go into effect shortly, said Shaked’s office.
No labor court currently requires the posting of any financial guarantees, whether the complainant is a citizen or not.
Two years ago TheMarker published an investigative report on the exploitation of Palestinian workers in the Jordan Valley, which showed that local farmers do not grant these workers basic rights like a salary slip, minimum wage, and vacation and sick days. There are no written contracts between the farmers and their workers, so a farmer can fire an employee at will, even if he’s employed him for years.
Some workers who realize that their employment terms violate Israeli labor laws engage attorneys and file suits in the labor courts, but often come away empty-handed because they cannot not prove an employer-employee relationship. The farmers, meanwhile, incur legal fees defending themselves.
Moalem-Refaeli said the proposal was aimed at helping Jordan Valley farmers battle the “legal intifada” she said they’ve been subjected to in recent years.
“Farm owners are being swamped by frivolous claims and must cope with a methodical effort to impoverish them and destroy Jewish agriculture in the Jordan Valley,” she said. “The state must intervene. Arabs from the nearby communities are willing to take their chances; even if they lose, the farmer can forget about recovering his legal costs because we’re talking about residents of the Palestinian Authority.
“Most of the lawsuits end in some ridiculous settlement and in some cases the workers demand wages for times of the year when there is no need or reason to work on the farm. A significant portion of the claims against the farmers come from PA residents who never even worked for that farmer. It’s worth trying since there’s nothing to lose. That’s why under this welcome legislative measure by myself and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, the condition for filing a lawsuit is the provision of a [financial] guarantee.”
Shaked’s office said, “The regulations do not require the approval of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee and will go into effect when they are published in the government gazette shortly.”

Tali Heruti-Sover

Haaretz Contributor

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.732153


Schermata 2016 07 20 alle 09.02.10

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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