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IMF projections assume 'high intensity' Gaza war to last through first quarter of 2024

January 31, 2024 at 2:38 pm

Palestinians inspect amid the rubble of Al-Urube school following the Israeli attack on the Nuseirat refugee camp in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on January 31, 2024 [Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency]

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday that its projections assumed that Israel’s war against the Palestinians in Gaza will continue with “high intensity” through the first quarter of 2024, Reuters has reported. Hostilities, said the IMF, should then slowly decline.

“Real GDP growth in [the occupied] West Bank and Gaza Strip is estimated to have dropped to about minus six per cent” for 2023, it added, a nine-percentage-point downgrade from its October regional outlook.

“We project that the economy will keep on contracting in 2024 if there is no fast and quick cessation of hostilities and reconstruction,” said Jihad Azour, the IMF’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

The IMF’s updated regional outlook, issued on Wednesday, said that under an assumption that the conflict “gradually eases, positive growth is projected to resume from a very low base, and inflation is expected to gradually ease.”

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas led a surprise attack on army barracks and settlements in Israel on 7 October, in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 240 seized as hostages. Many of the casualties were killed by the Israel Defence Forces under the army’s so-called Hannibal doctrine, not Hamas.

Nevertheless, Israel launched an air and ground offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza which has displaced most of the coastal strip’s 2.3 million people and plunged it into a humanitarian catastrophe. At least 26,900 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli offensive, most of them children and women. Even though the International Court of Justice told Israel last Friday to stop killing Palestinians, more than 500 have been killed since then, including 150 over the past 24 hours.

READ: 30 Palestinians held by Israel found dead, handcuffed inside Gaza school: NGO