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Gaza unemployment 'ticking time-bomb': Israeli lawmaker

May 22, 2015 at 2:06 pm

The surge in unemployment in the Gaza Strip is a “ticking time-bomb”, an Israeli member of Knesset said today.

Gaza’s joblessness rate has risen to 43 per cent, according to the World Bank.

Gazans who are not members of Hamas are not enemies of Israel, which is why Israel must lead the Gaza Strip’s reconstruction process in exchange for disarming the enclave, lawmaker Haim Yellin of the centrist Yesh Atid party was quoted Israel Radio as saying.

On Friday, the World Bank published an alarming report on the Gaza Strip’s economic situation.

World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza, Steen Lau Jorgensen, said Gaza’s unemployment and poverty figures were very troubling and the economic outlook was “worrying”.

“Blockades, war and poor governance have strangled Gaza’s economy and the unemployment rate is now the highest in the world,” the World Bank said.

“Unemployment in Gaza is the highest in the world at 43 per cent,” it added.

It said even more alarming was the situation of youth unemployment in the Strip, noting that this unemployment soared to more than 60 per cent by the end of 2014.

“Nearly 80 per cent of Gaza’s population receives some kind of social assistance, and nearly 40 per cent of them still fall below the poverty line,” the bank said.

It went on to note that the status quo in Gaza was unsustainable.

“Recovery is conditional upon easing of the blockade to allow reconstruction materials to enter in sufficient quantities and to lift the exports out, as well as donor financing for reconstruction,” the bank said.

Gaza has been under an all-out Israeli blockade since 2007.

The siege has deprived the enclave’s almost 1.9 million residents of most of their basic needs.