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Unemployment doubled in Gaza since start of Israel siege

A Palestinian woman prepares food for her children at her home in a poverty-stricken quarter of al-Zaytoon in Gaza City on 17 September 2013 [Ezz Zanoun/Apaimages]
A Palestinian woman prepares food for her children at her home in a poverty-stricken quarter of al-Zaytoon in Gaza City on 17 September 2013 [Ezz Zanoun/Apaimages]

The General Federation of Palestinian Labour Unions reported today that the unemployment rate in the besieged Gaza Strip has doubled since Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade 11 years ago.

The federation said, in a statement, that while the unemployment rate was at 27.2 per cent before the blockade, it has now reached 50 per cent. There are currently 283,000 workers who are unemployed in the Strip, it added.

Rates of poverty reached 80 per cent as the Strip has witnessed a sharp deterioration in the standard of living and its economic performance.

The federation called for immediate solutions to the high unemployment rate among Palestinian workers in the besieged enclave, which would only be possible by ending the Israeli blockade, reviving the economy and opening the borders to facilitate the movement of people and goods.

Read: 90% of Gaza residents have no access to safe sources of drinking water

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay Mladenov, had said in a statement in August that the Gaza Strip is “on the verge of total collapse”, pointing out that half of Gaza’s population suffers from unemployment.

A 2015 UN report warned that the Gaza Strip may become “unliveable by 2020, if present trends continue”.

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