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Israel siege, PA sanctions widen gap between Gaza, West Bank

Palestinians, in Gaza City, wait in a queue to withdraw money from cash points after the decision of cutting the salaries by 30% was taken by the government officials on 10 May, 2017 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinians, in Gaza City, wait in a queue to withdraw money from cash points on 10 May 2017 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

Israel’s siege and Palestinian Authority (PA) sanctions on the Gaza Strip have widened the economic gap between it and the occupied West Bank.

“The economic situation in Gaza has been quickly deteriorating without any interference to protect the residents,” Professor Mu’een Rajab told Felesteen on Friday, explaining:

The siege and the PA sanctions, including the cessation of new government recruitment and halting [government] spending in Gaza, led to a wide economic gap between Gaza and the West Bank.

While Rajab did not deny there is an economic crisis in the occupied West Bank, he said the situation there “is better than Gaza because of the continuous government recruitment carrying out development programmes, as well as the opportunities for West Bank residents to work in Israel”.

READ: UN, Palestinians launch humanitarian appeal after funding cuts

Recently, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics revealed that 35 per cent of Palestinian families in Gaza had completely or partially lost their income in the past 12 months, compared to only 6 per cent in the West Bank. The bureau also found that 54 per cent of families in Gaza had no access to running water and 51 per cent were unable to pay for water treatment, compared to 10 per cent in the occupied West Bank.

In addition, 31 per cent of Gaza’s residents were unable to receive healthcare services due to shortages of medicines and medical equipment, compared to only 7 per cent in the West Bank.

Specialist Amin Abu-Aisha said that Israel’s siege and PA sanctions reduced the real growth rates in Gaza to 0.5 per cent in 2017 and -1.5 per cent this year, compared to 3.5 per cent in the West Bank.

READ: Israel minister halts vegetable, fruit imports from Palestine

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