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UNRWA says that West Bank economy is struggling while Palestinian unemployment rises

A UN report suggests that media claims that the West Bank economy is flourishing overlook the reality of rising unemployment and a jump in inflation. Issued by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the report states that the economic reality in the West Bank contradicts the positive image that has been depicted typically in the media. It points out that unemployment in the West Bank rose dramatically in the second half of 2010. The economic deterioration of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank was even sharper when compared with the situation for other Palestinians in the same area. Refugees have little hope of finding work in the Palestinian jobs market.

The author of the research, Salem Ajluni, said that in 2010 “the average broad refugee unemployment rate rose by more than a percentage point to 27.9 percent relative to first-half 2009 as compared to a 24.1 percent rate for non-refugees”. There was a 3% decline in the real value of the wages of both refugees and non-refugees.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness commented: “The economic good news that the media have made much of in recent months overlooks deeper processes underway. The occupation and its related infrastructure, such as settlements and settler-only roads that encroach on and divide Palestinian land, settler violence and the West Bank barrier have diminished prospects for Palestinians in general and especially for refugees.”

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