The Role of Israeli Policies in Converging the Palestinian Labor Force to an Unskilled Labor Force

Forced Migration, Labor, Livelyhood, Health and Daily Life

by Wisam A. Samarah, Mohammad H. Yahia


An advanced economy such as the Israeli economy can attract both unskilled and skilled labor force, yet the Israeli economy mainly provides opportunities for the unskilled Palestinian labor and compensates them less, in comparison to their Israeli counterparts. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how the Israeli policies negatively affect the Palestinian labor force, by giving incentives and providing less options to the Palestinians in order to transform them into unskilled labor force.
The dependence of developed countries on labor force from developing countries, is a common trend that can be witnessed across different contexts. Germany is a good example of a capital abundant developed country that lacks the needed labor force to sustain economic growth. Hence, they try to attract labor from poor or developing countries, and today from war-torn countries, such as Germany’s role in the resettlement of Syrian Refugees for its labor purposes. In a way, nations are better off if they cooperate and work together, and compensate the migrant workers their fair share. Palestine, is a unique situation, where the Palestinian labor force contributes to both the Palestinian economy and the Israeli economy. These two economies are situated and intermingled in a small geographical area. The two economies are at opposite end of the spectrum, where the Israeli economy is the high-tech and advanced economy and thus ranking Israel as a developed country. Meanwhile, the newly formed semi-independent Palestinian economy is primitive economy. The Palestinian economy had acquired its semi-independence status from the Israeli economy in 1994 with the formation of the Palestinian Authority. The aim was to have a totally independent Palestinian economy by the year 1999. However, The Israeli Policies have prevented the breakaway of the Palestinian economy from the Israeli economy. The different Policies and the strong iron grip imposed by the Israeli Government on the Palestinian Territories have succeeded in maintaining the dependance of the Palestinian economy on the Israeli economy. In the year 2021, both the Palestinian labor force and the Palestinian economy are still heavily dependent on the Israeli economy.

The dynamics of the Israeli government has created an environment that forces the Palestinian labor to migrate to the state of Israel and work as an unskilled labor. Thus, the Israeli policy promotes the destruction of the Palestinian Human Capital and the deterioration of the Palestinian economy. This is achieved through the promotion of unskilled labor force; the Israeli government is succeeding in converging skilled Palestinian labor to unskilled Palestinian labor in order to achieve its purposes.

Keywords: Israeli Economy, Labor Force, Palestinian Economy, Unskilled Palestinian Labor


Wisam A. Samarah

Assistant Director, Business & Economic Research Center, Al-Quds Open University, Palestine

Masters in Economics from American University in Washington DC. Moved to The University of Iowa completing Ph.D. level Mathematical Economics and Econometrics. Taught at American University in Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and at Kirkwood Community College in the Mathematics and Science Department. Currently an Assistant Director to the Business and Economics Research Center (BERC) in the Faculty of Administrative & Economic Sciences at Al Quds Open University. Published a number of articles in academic peer-reviewed journals.

Mohammad H. Yahia

Research Assistant, Graduate Student, Department of Economics, Birzeit University, Palestine

Research Assistant and Graduate Student, at Birzeit University’s Department of Economics. Won the second place in the Arab League for Sustainable Environment and Renewable Energy Prize. Two Working Paper published at Bir Zeit University.