Monday, January 22, 2007

FEATURE: Cheap life of Palestinian laborers By Mohammed Mar'i

The Cheap Life of Palestinian Laborers
By Mohammed Mar'i
(Arab American Media Services. Permission granted to republish.)

(Ramallah, Occupied Palestine)-- Muhammad Kamal Battat went highly motivated to his work after spending the weekend with his family. He was happy to get a new job after suffering from unemployment for years. Mohammed left his West Bank city of AL Dahirryeh, south of Hebron, to Beer Shiva south of Israel, where the construction site he worked in. He left the warmness of his family to the coldness of the construction site where there is no heating just to earn some Israeli Shekels for the daily needs of his kids.

He went there without knowing the deal between the contactor and the guards. A colleague of Mohammed said that the guards made a deal with the contractor who has to pay them money in exchange for permitting the workers to sleep at the construction site. He added that a few days ago the guard threatened to kill the workers if the deal is not fulfilled. On Saturday, January 20, 2007, when the workers arrived to the site, the guard demanded the money and when they refused he shot Muhammad dead.

The tragic story of laborer Mohammed Battat, 30 years, who left six children, is not the first by Israeli guards or soldiers.

Wahib Al Deek, a plasterer was killed By Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on December 14, 2006. Al Deek worked in a renovation project in his village Kafr El Deek, south west of Nablus. He took his breakfast that day with his wife who is three months' pregnant, and later he left his kids Useid, 6, Asil, 5 and Sali, 3. Wais is six months old, to the working place which is few meters from his home. The (IOF) soldiers, who interred the place searching for stones throwers, shot Al Deek dead in front of his father accusing him of endangering the life of soldiers.

In Mohammed case it was possible for the guard to call the Israeli police to arrest laborers if he, the guard, was concerned for the security of Israel. He killed him leaving six orphans and a widow just for hundreds of Shekels. Regarding Wahib, the (IOF) soldiers were able to arrest him since the old building where he worked has only one entrance. The (IOF) soldiers were able to shot him in the leg if he was holding a rock because he was visible. It seems that the life of a Palestinian doesn't worth a moment of self restraint from Israeli security apparatus. It seems that the Israeli soldier with" light finger on trigger" can smoothly eliminate a Palestinians' life.

(Mohammed Mar'i is a freelance Palestinian journalist based in Ramallah, Occupied Palestine. He can be reached at