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Four Palestinian construction workers killed in Israel in 24 hours

45 Palestinian workers have been killed in Israel so far this year, and over 380 since 2017.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this article was edited when a fourth Palestinian construction worker was killed inside Israel this morning.

Jerusalem24 – A total of four Palestinian construction workers have been killed since yesterday inside Israel in three separate incidents.

29-year-old Hussein Hisham Watad and 21-year-old Diab Mohammad Diab Watad, relatives from a Palestinian village in the “Triangle” area in Israel, were killed yesterday morning when part of an industrial elevator fell from a height of twelve floors and crushed them on the ground, at a construction site in Tireh Al-Karmel in Israel.

Another four workers were injured in the incident.

The family of the two young men told Arab48 news “it is certain negligence led to their death”, although they indicated they had not yet been made aware of the details of the case.

According to their family, Hussein Watad had a wife and a 3-month-old baby, and Diab Watad had taken a job in construction in order to help his father financially while his sisters went through university.

In a separate incident yesterday, 56-year-old Bilal Mohammad Asa’ad Jabarin from the village of Al-Mashirfeh (also in the Triangle area), died after falling from a height of seven meters into a ditch under excavation, in Gadish in Israel, just north of the occupied West Bank.

Fire and rescue forces worked for hours trying to rescue Asa’ad, until his body was retrieved from under the collapsed soil.

In a third incident, 50-year-old Ghassan Dahbour from the village of Azoun in the occupied West Bank was killed this morning in Rishon LeZion, south of Jaffa, when a heavy object fell on him in a construction workshop. He sustained severe head injuries and was declared dead upon arrival at the hospital.

A deadly trend

A total of 45 Palestinian construction workers have been killed in Israel so far in 2022, according to the Secretary-General of the Federation of Palestinian Trade Unions, Shaher Saad. Speaking to Voice of Palestine radio yesterday, Saad accused Israeli employers of systematically attempting to circumvent compensation to Palestinian workers and their families.

Safe Work Israel, an Israeli NGO that advocates for safer working conditions and compiles statistics on work accidents, said the mortality rate of work accidents in Israel stands at 14 for every 100,000 workers – roughly five times as high as certain European countries. The mortality trend has not improved in the last five years.

According to Sami Al-Amsi, the head of the General Federation of Palestine Trade Unions in Gaza, 39 Palestinian workers were killed in accidents at construction sites in Israel in 2018; 65 were killed in 2020; and 47 were killed in 2021.

According to reporting by Haaretz published in July, Israel has filed just 90 indictments in the 379 cases of work-related deaths in Israel since 2017, with offenders often receiving mild punishments.

Safe Work Israel points to the number of safety inspectors having dropped in the last two years from 90 to 70. The number of safety orders imposed on “dangerous” workplaces has also decreased by 20% to 30% in the same time, according to the NGO.

The NGO also says the number of charges filed by the Israeli Prosecutor’s office for accidents leading to the death of workers “continues to be outrageous”, especially in the districts of Haifa and the North where the incidents occurred yesterday.

A statement by the NGO posted yesterday on their Facebook page said, “If the Ministry of Economy and other relevant authorities do not act vigorously on this issue, we will continue to witness these horrific and preventable tragedies.”

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