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the impact of the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian economy according to the UN

In less than twenty years, the restrictive measures imposed by the Israeli occupation represent a shortfall of nearly 58 billion dollars (51.3 billion euros) for the Palestinian economy. This is the conclusion of a report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), published Wednesday, November 24.

According to the study, the Palestinian economy has never been able to recover from the contraction of more than 40% of its GDP suffered during the second Intifada. If restrictions on the mobility of Palestinians and the frequency of repressive operations in the West Bank had not been maintained after 2005, the poverty rate would be equivalent to one-third of the current 35.4%, argues UNCTAD. According to the report, the West Bank has lived “Two decades of jobless growth”, with an unemployment rate stagnating around 18%.

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This rate rises to 35%, according to the organization, if we do not take into account the 125,000 Palestinians employed in Israel and in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Crucial jobs for the Palestinian economy: these workers earn at least the Israeli minimum wage, 5,300 shekels (1,485 euros), or more than 3.5 times the equivalent of the minimum wage in the territory managed by the Palestinian Authority. But these cash inflows also increase the Palestinians’ dependence on Israeli decisions.

Fragmented territory

The new Israeli government claims to carry an agenda of economic peace, “Conflict reduction” through development. The theory is far from new. In recent years, restrictions on mobility have been rationalized, often in concert with the deployment of more sophisticated surveillance techniques. However, hundreds of checkpoints and barriers continue to fragment the territory.

Accused by the Palestinians of using these restrictions for political ends, the Israeli government justifies them by a security imperative, even though the number of attacks from the West Bank has never been lower since the end of the second Intifada , in 2005. A real reduction in this device therefore seems highly improbable.

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To make up for the economic backwardness, UNCTAD recommends free access to Area C, the 60% of the West Bank that remains under Israeli civilian and military control, an underpopulated territory, but rich in natural resources, where Israel has de facto extended its sovereignty. The UN body also advocates the reestablishment of territorial continuity between the various Palestinian areas. An approach contradicted in practice by the advance of the settlements, especially those around Jerusalem, which cut the main axes of communication between the north and the south of the West Bank.

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