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UN: Israel hinders Palestinian economic growth

An UN report has accused Israel of obstructing economic growth in the occupied Palestinian Territories due to the restrictions it has imposed on the area, which has led to more and more suffering, poverty and food shortages.

In a report prepared by a group of development experts, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said that the economy in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank could recover only if Israel refrained from stopping the transfer of funds and the movement of people and goods in these areas.

According to the Geneva based UNCTAD, even before the recent military operations in the Gaza Strip, the economy was in a state of collapse almost entirely due to the cumulative effect of the Israeli siege which has been ongoing for seven years, as well as the military assaults on the trip in November 2012 and December 2008.

According to the report released yesterday, the GDP of the Palestinian territories recorded a growth rate of 1.5 per cent last year compared to 5.9 per cent the previous year. The Palestinian economy is growing at a slower pace than the population, which has led to a decline in per capita income.

The unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip rose to 36 per cent and 22 per cent in the West Bank. Only 25 per cent of households get sufficient food for their needs.

The UN report criticised Israeli policies that deprive Palestinians from the exploitation of their natural resources in the West Bank. More than 60 per cent of the West Bank territory is under Israeli control since the Oslo agreement.

According to the report, Israeli restrictions dissipate more than a third of the gross domestic product for Palestinians in terms of denying them access to their farms, as well as irrigation water and the quarrying and mineral wealth of the Dead Sea.

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