Palestinian workers 'banned' from using knives as unrest spreads
The recent stabbing attacks in the occupied Palestinian territories have prompted many retail stores and restaurants to impose an unrealistic ban on the sale or use of knives, which have become a symbol of the Palestinian people's individual acts of resistance.
The move has come in response to demands by Israeli costumers either to reallocate Palestinian workers to other positions or sections that do not require the use of knives, or to ban the workers from using them altogether.
|Now every time I need to use the knife, I have to get permission from the store management so Israeli costumers would not be afraid while they shop
- Supersal employee
"I have been working at the vegetables section for 11 years, and today the management banned me from using knives," said a Palestinian who works at a Supersal store in Haifa.
"Now every time I need to use the knife, I have to get permission from the store management so Israeli costumers will not be afraid while they shop."
In the meat and poultry section at Supersal, an Israeli retail giant, knives and hatchets were removed from their places near the refrigerators and placed in drawers.
In the Rami Levy store chain, where 70 percent of the workers are Palestinian, knives have been removed from the shelves, and can now be bought only at the check-out counters, where the cashier demands to see the customer's ID.
Rami Levy, the chain store founder and owner, confirmed to Israeli newspaper Globes that the knives had been removed, and that he was aware that his Arab employees were deterring customers from coming to his stores.
"I'm afraid of letting in a customer who would do something," Levy said.
"Why should I give him the weapon. It's not smart to put a guard on the door to check people and then give him a knife inside the store."
On the other hand, one of the chain's employees said, "Everyone knows that 70 percent of employees in branches are Arabs. The knives were taken away to show that we're 100 percent clean."
"We've also been told not to talk politics or about the situation. But that's not enough and some customers are staying away. They are shopping at rivals because they are scared to come to us," the employee added.
A few days ago, Israel's Channel 10 aired a report that instigated more fear on the matter.
In the report, the TV presenter held knives in a retail store and asked the sales assistant about how easy it was for anyone to pick up the knives.
She also asked the guard at the entrance whether he was worried she would buy a knife from the store and start stabbing the shoppers.
During the first few days of the uprising, the Israeli media launched an enticing campaign under the slogan "knife terrorism".
The campaign began with the killing of two settlers in Jerusalem.
Recently, many Israeli politicians and officials have called for the immediate killing of anyone holding a knife.