World Bank Reports about the West Bank and GazaPalestine Economic Policy Institute (MAS)The Paris Protocol 1994Paltrade Explanation of The Paris ProtocolLev Grinberg’s “Economic Envelopment”
Since the occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967, Israel has used its military rule to the advantage of Israeli corporations and economic interests, many times to the detriment of the Palestinian economy under its control. All Palestinian imports and exports have been controlled, restricting the competition with Israeli producers, and making the Palestinian consumer market into a captive market for Israeli goods. Regulatory and effective restrictions were imposed on the development of businesses that could compete with Israeli industries, and all basic and utility services were routed through Israeli firms. The Paris accords’customs union continued the same decades-long policy imposed on the Palestinians.
Severe restrictions on movement of Palestinian labor and products inside the occupied territories and to neighboring areas have further increased the dependency of the Palestinian economy on Israeli companies as employers and retailers. The growing network of checkpoints and walls has all but destroyed Palestinian local production and the Palestinian labor bargaining power.
Israeli companies have a relative high concentration of capital, freedom of movement and favorable legal conditions. When operating in the occupied territories they also enjoy special governmental support, access to cheap resources, tax incentives, and a very lax enforcement of labor laws and environmental protection laws. These advantages often result in the exploitation of Palestinian labor, Palestinian natural resources and the Palestinian consumer market.
The Economic Exploitation section of the database is, in a way, the most important part of our mapping of occupation-related profits. However, this is also the section which is hardest to map. Almost all Israeli companies involved with the Palestinian economy gain direct or indirect advantages from the actions of the Israeli authorities or from the special conditions of the occupation, and thus exploit the Palestinian economy. Therefore, the companies that we list below serve only as examples of the different types of structural advantages of Israeli companies in the framework of the Israeli occupation.
Israeli employers of Palestinian workers in the West Bank directly benefit from employing people under conditions of occupation. Restrictions on Palestinian movement limit the workers’ employment choices, and the workers’ dependency on security permits makes organizing almost impossible. Palestinian workers have no effective legal redress, and labor laws are not enforced.
Kav Laoved has documented reports of companies in the Israeli industrial zones that have paid sub-standard wages, forced Palestinians to work overtime for no pay, employed workers in hazardous conditions or denied them of adequate social benefits.
Of course, not all the Israeli employers of Palestinians workers would abuse the situation as severely, but all of them benefit from it nonetheless. Since Palestinian workers are effectively prevented from changing employers, organizing or suing for their rights, we would consider all such cases as cases of exploitative employment.
Palestinian Captive MarketThis category includes companies providing services or goods to Palestinians at high costs, exploiting the restrictions on movement imposed on the Palestinians who cannot purchase these goods and services at a competitive price locally or abroad. Most Israeli retailers in the occupied territories would fall under this category.
This category also includes companies using their ties to the Israeli authorities to gain commercial advantages over Palestinian companies, and companies that collect Palestinian debts using their ties to the Israeli government (for example, Palestinian import and sales tax moneys collected by Israel, were illegally retained and then used to pay various debts to Israeli companies such as the Israeli electricity company).
Exploitation of Occupied Production and ResourcesThis category includes companies that pay below market prices for Palestinian products because Palestinian producers are restricted to selling to companies that can cross Israeli checkpoints or borders.
It also includes companies that use or exploit Palestinian or Syrian natural and environmental resources under the protection of the occupation.
With present conditions, almost all Israeli companies buying Palestinian products or using Palestinian natural resources would fall under this definition.