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Title: Building Other People’s Homes The Palestinian Peasant’s Household and Work in Israel
Authors: Tamari, Salim 
Keywords: Palestinian Arabs - Employment - Israel;Palestinian Arabs - Israel - Economic conditions;Labor supply, Arab - Israel;Arab-Israeli conflict - Economic aspects;Construction industry - Employees - Israel;Construction workers - Palestine
Issue Date: 1981
Publisher: Journal of Palestine Studies
Abstract: This paper aims to examine the manner in which peasant-workers in West Bank have become involved in the work process in Israel, and to investigate the impact of this work on the peasant's family farm and village social structure. The study is based on interviews of peasant-workers in the construction sector conducted by the writer,1 and on data derived from household surveys issued by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics.2 Changes in the character of the Palestinian village as a result of external work opportunities (in Israel, the Gulf, the Americas, and urban centres within the occupied territories) have been the subject of many recent studies. The dominant theme of those studies has been to demonstrate the growth of a new rural-based proletariat as a result of Israel's economic annexation of the West Bank and Gaza; or its opposite, a process of declassment (Hilal, 1975; Zureik, 1976, 1979; Graham-Brown, 1979; Samara, 1979). Unlike earlier studies dealing with the formation of a rural proletariat in mandatory Palestine (Carmi and Rosenfeld, 1974; Taqqu, 1980) or in the Galilee under Israeli rule (Cohen, 1965), the present works focus primarily on the colonial aspect of this class relationship. Moreover, the controversy over the policy implications of employing Arabs within the Israeli economy considers its effects on Israeli social structure as well as Arab (Hilal, 1975, pp. 255-58; Farjoun, 1975; Bregman, 1976; Van Arkadie, 1977). Farjoun, for example, sees the Palestinian labour force as performing two important functions for the Israeli economy today: 1. As a non-organized sector of the work force it grants the Israeli economy a significant range of flexibility during periods of crisis, allowing it to lay off surplus labour during recessions, and to recruit workers at will - during economic booms - without being hampered by trade union restrictions. 2. The Arab laboux force contributes to the strengthening of the Jewish private bourgeoisie in its conflict with the Histadrut-controlled industries and with the state bureaucracy, without the latter being able to mobilize the Jewish work force against the effects of unorganized Arab labour since their own industries [i.e., the public sector's] will be affected as well (Farjoun, 1979, p. 3)
DOI: 10.2307/2536046
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