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Israeli Occupation Smashes Palestinian Economy


Israeli Occupation Smashes Palestinian Economy

26 August 2002

Palestine Media Center - PMC

An official report, issued recently by the Abu Dhabi-base Monetary Fund (AMF), revealed that Israel's occupation of Palestinian cities and towns have smashed the Palestinian economic backbone by destroying industrial and agricultural facilities, crippling government institutions and depriving hundreds of thousands of Palestinians of their jobs.

"The Palestinian economy has almost completely been destroyed because of Israeli practices. The destruction covered all sectors including infrastructure and development projects set up after the Oslo agreement," the AMF said in its 2002 report on Arab economic and social conditions.

The report further revealed that Palestinian economy collapsed by nearly two thirds in2001, unemployment soared and the living standards sharply retreated.

"Economic performance collapsed by more than 55 percent while unemployment reached between 80 and 85 percent as a result of the destruction of all sectors and Israel's policy of depriving the Palestinian workers from their jobs."

The Palestinian Gross National Product (GNP) also tumbled from nearly$5.46 billion to only $2.12 billion, pushing the Palestinian per capita income from around $1,420 to$422, a decrease that effected wide sectors of the community.

The report, which pointed out that the Palestinian public sector is hardly functioning, warned that the economy in general reached a stage of full stoppage in 2001.

Systematic Israeli incursions into the Palestinian farms and destruction of trees have sharply depressed agricultural output. In value, the agricultural sector declined to around$176 million last year from $275 million in 2000.

"The decline in farming output was caused by Israel's destruction of more than 220,000 dunums and 500,000olive, palm and citrus trees in addition to destruction of water wells and irrigation systems and barring the entry of fertilizers and farming equipment. Israel has also killed thousands of cattle, banned animal fodder and prevented fishing," the report revealed.

The industrial sector was also devastated during the past 22 months of Israeli aggression, the report indicated. It added the industrial sector's contribution to the GDP dived to only eight percent in 2001 to reach just $117 million from $824 million. The decline had a serious impact on jobs, with the number of workers plummeting from 82,000 to only 17,000.

"This was a result of direct damage to factories and workshops by Israeli occupation forces and measures to bar spare parts and other production requirements."

Regarding the damage that was inflicted to the trade sector, as a result of Israeli siege, the report revealed, "Palestinian exports tumbled from around $857 million in 2000 to only $110 million in 2001 while imports dived from $3.5 billion to $970 million. From more than 20 per cent, the exports plunged to seven percent of the GDP."

"Such developments had an immediate effect on the Palestinian public revenues, which collapsed to only$170 million from $964 million. This means revenues accounted only for 17 percent of the expenditure and almost all of them were incurrent spending as no funds were channeled into investment and development projects," it added.

Finally, the report estimated that the "Palestinians need between $7-8 billion to revive the economy, rebuild the infrastructure, and find jobs for their people."

ENDS


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