by Ronald Bleier (rbleier@igc.org)

NOTE: The following quotation from a speech by Yossi Sarid was reprinted in the Israeli publication, "Kav La'Oved Newsletter." Kav La'Oved is the Workers Protection Hotline for the Protection of Wor kers' Rights.

"Don't We Owe Them Something"

"In February [1995], Environment Minister Yossi Sarid (Meretz) proposed paying some NIS 1.25 billion ($400 million) in compensation to the Palestinian Authority for the loss of jobs and income caused by the closure of the territories. At that time he stated:

"`... The labor of Gazan workers in Israel amounted to some billion and a quarter shekels a year. I propose redeeming this labor with money: transferring NIS 100 million a month to the Palestinian A uthority to create sources of employment in the Gaza Strip ...

"`The occupation is the state's most profitable business. We didn't pay adequate wages to the Palestinian workers; didn't give them proper social conditions. Don't we owe them something after 27 year s? We didn't even allow them to set up a pickle factory! If we gave them weapons, it follows that must also help them with money.'" (Ha'aretz, 28/4/95)

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