Three Palestinian workers killed in multiple accidents on 'lawless' Israeli construction sites

Three Palestinian workers killed in multiple accidents on 'lawless' Israeli construction sites
Four labourers, including three Palestinians, died on Monday in building site accidents in Israel, signalling an alarming 'lawlessness' in the industry whose workers are mostly Palestinian or foreign.
2 min read
14 August, 2018
Ibrahim al-Hadidi, 32, and Rami Ali Bader, 34, fell from the fifteenth floor [Twitter]
Three construction workers fell to their deaths and one was killed by an electric shock in three separate incidents on Israeli building sites on Monday.

Three Palestinians from the West Bank and a Chinese worker died in the incident that shed light on the perilous and unregulated working conditions faced by labourers in Israel, the vast majority of whom are Palestinian or foreign.

Two men fell from the 15th floor of a building under construction after a piece of scaffolding broke loose in Rosh Ha’ayin near Tel Aviv on Monday. A third person was injured.

The men were named as Ibrahim Zakaria Mohammed al-Hadidi, 32, and Rami Abdullah Ali Bader, 34, who both came from the village of Beit Liqya, near Ramallah in the West Bank.

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In a separate incident in Lod, a Chinese worker, 35, died after falling from the fourth floor of a building while doing plastering.

Later on the same day, Wissam Awad Mahameed (pictured below) died at the Hillel Yaffe medical centre in Hadera after suffering a severe electric shock while at work. Mahameed is reportedly from the village of Wadi Ara area of Israel.

The deaths bring the total number of fatalities in such incidents to 27 in 2018, excluding passers-by. This marks a worrying 43 percent increase on the same period last year.

According to Arab48, the majority of those involved in accidents are Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza, Arab citizens of Israel and foreigners. Arabs and migrant labourers are well-known to be treated as second-class citizens in Israel, allowing their employers impunity over unsafe working conditions.

The Israeli construction firm Electra, who operates the Roshe Ha'ayin site, issued a statement on Monday expressing "deep sorrow" over the deaths and that an investigation had been launched. The company's sites however have seen 11 workers killed in the past three years.

Israel's Labour Ministry issued a statement saying police were investigating the Rosh Ha'ayin incident and the site has been closed for the meantime.

Reuven Ben Shimon, founder of the Forum for the Prevention of Workplace Accidents, told Haaretz"Contractors don't pay a personal or economic price, and we will therefore continue to count and bury the invisible workers falling to their deaths on the altar of luxury buildings and due to the continued impunity in the construction industry".

He added that the Israeli government "does not lift a finger in the face of the carnage of construction workers," branding the industry as "lawless".

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