The International Red Cross is suing several farmers in
Metulla for tens of thousands of dollars in unemployment
compensation for Lebanese workers who had worked for them
for the past several years. One of the farmers was asked to
compensate 17 Lebanese workers he had employed. The farmers
were warned that if they do not meet the demands, the Red
Cross will sue them in international court.
Says one farmer: "This letter, which was sent to me from
Cyprus, was beyond belief. Why should I give them
compensation payments? I'm not the Histadrut. I don't
understand what they want from me. I have employed Lebanese
workers over the years mostly as agricultural workers. I
employed them with IDF backing. The idea was to encourage
their relatives to enlist in the South Lebanese Army. Dozens
of other families in Metulla did the same. I refuse to pay
them unemployment compensation. Let them deal with the
government, since it's the State that is supposed to take
care of them."
The head of the Metulla Local Council suggested reopening
the gates to Lebanon. "It is inconceivable that the Lebanese
who were employed by Metulla residents come along now and
demand compensation, and that there is no one to pay them.
Some of them worked for local farmers for 20 years. The
State is the one who has to consider compensation
Sources at the Rehabilitation Administration for Soldiers of
the South Lebanese Army confirmed that they know about the
letters and that "These claims were the first of a wave of
compensation claims from the Lebanese."
Perhaps the unemployed Lebanese workers should request that
the Histadrut file their requests for compensation payments.
There is just one problem: nobody fired them from their
jobs. Metulla farmers would be glad to bring them back to
work. The ones preventing this are the Hizbullah fighters
who control the border. Perhaps the Red Cross should ask
Sheik Nasrullah to compensate the Lebanese farmers who lost
their livelihood because of him...?