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UN warns of eminent collapse of Palestine economy

September 11, 2019 at 9:27 am

Public officials withdraw money after the Palestinian government deducted their wage on 1 June 2017 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) yesterday warned of the eminent collapse of the Palestinian economy due to the destructive measures of the Israeli occupation.

In a report, UNCTAD said that the performance of the Palestinian economy and humanitarian conditions reached an all-time low in 2018 and early 2019.

It added: “The depression-level unemployment rate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory continued to climb in 2018, reaching 31 per cent; 52 per cent in Gaza and 18 per cent in the West Bank.”

It also said: “The real wage and labour productivity have been declining. In 2017, the real wage and productivity per worker were 7 and 9 per cent below their levels in 1995, respectively.”

Per capita income fell, mass unemployment increased, poverty deepened and the environmental toll of occupation has been rising in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Due to the Israeli occupation’s measures, “the economy of Gaza contracted by 7 per cent and poverty deepened, investment practically vanished, falling to 3 per cent of GDP, 88 per cent of which was channelled to the rebuilding of structures destroyed during several major military operations in the last 10 years.”

Slowdown of economy in the West Bank, UNCTAD said, “is explained by the decrease in donor support, contraction of the public sector and deterioration of the security environment, which discouraged private sector activities.”

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“The overall share of manufacturing in total value added shrank from 20 to 11 per cent of GDP between 1994 and 2018, while the share of agriculture and fishing declined from over 12 per cent to less than 3 per cent.”

“The Palestinian people are denied the right to exploit oil and natural gas resources and thereby deprived of billions of dollars in revenue,” it added.

The UNCTAD added: “The international community should help the Palestinian people to secure their right to oil and gas in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and ascertain their legitimate share in the natural resources collectively owned by several neighbouring States in the region.”

At the same time, the organisation said: “In March 2019, the Government of Israel started to deduct $11.5 million monthly from Palestinian clearance revenues… This fiscal shock is compounded by declining donor support.”

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