Israeli forces kill Palestinian worker crossing into Israel from northern West Bank

Israeli forces kill Palestinian worker crossing into Israel from northern West Bank
3 min read
West Bank
21 June, 2022
"Since then he has always crossed into Israel clandestinely to get his family's bread, always risking his life," said his brother.
Some 145,000 Palestinians work in Israel or in Israeli settlements in the West Bank according to Palestinian statistics. [Qassam Muaddi/TNA]

A Palestinian man was killed on Sunday by Israeli forces near Qalqilyah in the northwest region of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry announced.

The victim was identified as Nabil Ghanem, a 53-year-old construction worker and father of six from the village of Sarrah near Nablus.

"Nabil had worked in construction in Israel for more than thirty years," his brother told The New Arab. "He raised his children, the youngest of whom is ten and the oldest twenty-two, from his work in construction in Israel."

"Nabil was crossing the fence separating the West Bank and Israel, south of Qalqilyah with three other workers," the brother detailed. "All his co-workers crossed, while he got stuck in the fence as the soldiers opened fire and killed him."

"He had been banned from getting a working permit in Israel because he was politically active in the first Intifada, more than thirty years ago," Ghanem's brother continued. 

"Since then he has always crossed into Israel clandestinely to get his family's bread, always risking his life, staying in Israel for weeks, working wherever he could and coming back for a few days before going back in," he added.

"Hundreds of men in Sarrah are workers in Israel," Mohammad Mostafa, mayor of Sarrah, told The New Arab. "Practically, every family has a worker in Israel, many of them without working permits just like Nabil Ghanem."

"Economic conditions are hard, and many men prefer risking their lives rather than staying without work," said the mayor.

"Recently, Israeli forces tightened control over the fence, making the risk even greater, but many families have no other choice," he added.

Israeli media quoted the Israeli army's spokesperson admitting that Israeli soldiers opened fire at Ghanem while crossing the fence, and that "a hit was identified".

According to Palestinian statistics, Palestinian workers in Israel and in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank reached 145,000 in the third quarter of 2021. Statistics show that they earn an average of 256 shekels (US$77) daily wage.

In January, eight Palestinian teenagers were killed in an over crowded-car accident, while going to work in an Israeli settlement in the northern West Bank.