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Unemployment High Among Palestinians

Unemployment High Among Palestinians in Occupied Territories, UN Labour Agency Says

New York, May 27 2005 11:00AM

Despite the growth in Palestinian domestic output in 2004 after four years of recession, the unemployment rate in the occupied territories is almost 26 per cent, with less than half of the men of working age and only 10 per cent of women employed, the United Nations labour agency says.

A new report prepared for the UN International Labour Organization’s (ILO) 15-day International Labour Conference, beginning on Monday, says the high rate of “forced idleness” – neither at work nor in school – of over 30 per cent for 15- to 24-year-olds and over 50 per cent for those aged 25 to 29 years “makes a fertile breeding ground for extremism and violence.”

It recommends paying “urgent attention in the form of significant assistance in vocational training, business development and employment orientation specifically directed at young women and men.”

The data was collected by ILO missions sent to Israel and the occupied territories and to Syria to assess the situation of workers in the occupied territories, including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan, the organization says.

Every employed person in the region supports six people, it says.

In 2004, however, 57 per cent of wage workers in the occupied territories received monthly wages that failed to lift a family of two adults and four children above the official poverty line and about half of the population, or 1.8 million people, are living below the national poverty line, it says.

“The mission observed a prevailing feeling that the economic situation of Palestinians must rapidly improve in order for them to continue to support the policy of dialogue and negotiation with Israel,” the report says.

“This calls for a rapid lifting of closures, better access to the Israeli labour market, and improved trade facilities, as well as putting an end to discrimination against Arab people in the occupied Syrian Golan.”


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