In Jordan, thousands of Palestinian emigrant workers have crossed the King Hussein Bridge into the West Bank to begin their annual vacations.
In Jordan, thousands of Palestinian emigrant workers have crossed the King Hussein Bridge into the West Bank to begin their annual vacations. The Palestinians are employed throughout the Middle East -- often in harsh conditions -- and each year return to their families for a short period.
SYNOPSIS: Almost two thousand Palestinians cross the King Hussein Bridge in Jordan daily. The workers return home during summer months when temperatures on work sites can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (about 38 degrees Celsius).
Their return home also marks the beginning of the Islamic holy month -- Ramadan. The crossing from Jordan into the West Bank is carefully controlled, with Israeli authorities wary that Palestinian guerrillas might use this annual event to their advantage.
Most of the emigrant workers contribute significantly to their family income and arrive home with a year's savings. Recent reports have criticised the working conditions of many of emigrants in Arab oil states along the Persian Gulf.
The Palestinians return home to villages that suffer from high unemployment. The wages they make away from home are relatively good -- but accommodation and safety standards at work sites have been questioned. The Gulf States, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia depend heavily on emigrant workers because of the current construction boom. The countries supply jobs to thousands of Palestinians as well as Indians, Pakistanis, Yemenis, and Koreans -- all of whom return home just once a year to see their wives and children.