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UN: Economic situation in Palestinian territories is ‘dire’

November 12, 2021 at 11:00 am

Palestinians gather at the Unknown Soldier’s Square to march toward Labour Ministry building as they protest against unemployment rate in Gaza City, Gaza on 7 October, 2018 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

The financial situation in the Palestinian territories is “dire”, a new UN report says citing economic stagnation and persistently high unemployment.

The report released yesterday by the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, urged for a “coordinated response to address rapid deterioration in #Palestine|ian economic & fiscal situation”.

It called on Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the international community to work together in the coming months to address the problem.

“Short-term fixes, focused on stabilizing and managing recent crises are necessary, but not sufficient,” said Wennesland.

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The report will be presented at the meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee; the principal policy level coordination mechanism for the occupied Palestinian territories scheduled for next Wednesday in Oslo.

“It is increasingly difficult for the PA [Palestinian Authority] to cover its minimum expenditures, let alone make critical investments in the economy and the Palestinian people,” said Wennesland.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian government approved, in an emergency meeting, a number of measures to counter the financial crisis, which may include reducing the salaries of about 140,000 employees.

The cabinet meeting came hours after a World Bank report warned that it may be difficult for the Palestinian Authority “to fulfil its fiscal obligations by the end of this year”.

In September it was revealed that 2020 was the worst year for the PA since its establishment in 1994 due to the Israeli occupation and the coronavirus pandemic, with the Palestinian economy shrinking 11.5 per cent.