For those who research and discuss the Palestine-Israel conflict they will find that even the most detailed topics have been researched well. Nevertheless, such topics as the two-state solution, security issues, Jerusalem’s status and even Palestinian refugees reflect elite discussions that do not mention those who are at the periphery of discussions – the victims of the occupation. Those are the Palestinian workers who have no choice but to work inside Israeli settlements in the West Bank due to high unemployment rates and Israeli restrictions.
When I stayed in Tel Aviv, I asked one of my friends who calls herself a Zionist about Palestinians. She answered me fleeringly: “I am OK with them, and they construct my road they do jobs for me.” Even though the answer frustrated me due to her condescending manner, there was a reality hidden behind her answer. Israeli settlement expansion and the Jewish population has reached more than 600,000 since 1967 and subsequent Palestinian economic turnaround also rose during this time. There are 37,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank obliged to bring food to the table so they have to work in these settlements due to the settlements’ agricultural and industrial development. But those Palestinian’s stories have been mostly ignored and what’s more, the workers have been cast as “traitors or part of the problem” by their nationals.
However, Matthew Vickery’s book gives an insight into their daily life, the main struggles they face, how settlers treat them and the conditions under which they live. Vickery as a journalist chose a non-academic narrative to introduce the reader to the stories of Palestinian workers. He conducted a number of interviews with Palestinian workers in the West Bank and used these interviews as the basis of his book. Because they believe what they do is wrong, working for those people who are stealing their land has become shameful for them and they do not talk easily about it.
This book has been shortlisted for the Palestine Book Awards 2018, please click here to read the full review on the Palestine book awards site