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Israel: Choice of Labor Law in West Bank Israeli Settlements

(Dec. 2, 2007) In a ground breaking decision rendered on October 10, 2007, the High Court of Justice in an extended bench held that Israel's labor laws apply to Palestinians who are employed by Israeli employers in the West Bank. The Supreme Court had already determined in the past that the West Bank was held by Israel by way of belligerent occupation. The applicable law there would therefore generally be Jordanian law as existed prior to the occupation by the Israel Defense Forces.

In spite of the above, the High Court determined that in the absence of an agreement regarding the law that applies to the employment contract, the law of the country most connected to the topic in the employment contract will apply. Considering that in the case under consideration the payment to employees was in Israeli currency and various documents regarding the employment and conditions of employment were issued in accordance with what was common in Israel, the conclusion must be that the linkage of the employment relationships to Israeli law is stronger than it is to Jordanian law. Any other interpretation will lead to prohibited discrimination against Palestinians as compared to Israelis working in the West Bank for Israeli employers. (H.C. 5666/03 A Line to the Employee Non- Profit Organization et al. v. the National Court of Labor in Jerusalem et al., the Nevo Legal Database.)