Palestinian children: The invisible workers of Israeli settlements
Four years ago, Omar, 17, became the primary breadwinner for his eight member family after his father passed away. In significant debt due to medical bills, he began picking and packaging fruits and vegetables near the agricultural fields of the Israeli settlement of Hamra in the Jordan Valley. When balancing work and school became exhausting, Omar and his younger brother, Fouzi (pictured above), left school to work full time in the fields.
Depending on the season, around 10,000 to 20,000 Palestinian laborers work in Israeli agricultural settlements in the Jordan Valley. Approximately five to 10 percent of these workers are child laborers, according to the Maan Development Center. Palestinian children as young as 11 work up to 12 hours a day, in temperatures that can reach up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit and drop to 32 degrees Fahrenheit.