Israeli blockade cost Gaza almost $ 17 billion (UN)

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Israel’s blockade of Gaza cost the economy of the Palestinian enclave almost $ 17 billion, which saw its per capita GDP drop 27% and unemployment soar 49% between 2007 and 2018, according to a report by UN released Wednesday.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which based its calculations on the value of the dollar in 2015, also pointed out that Gaza had recorded growth of less than 5% over the same period.

“Over the period 2007-2018, according to an econometric analysis of data from household surveys, the cumulative economic cost of the Israeli occupation of Gaza can be attributed to the prolonged closure, severe restrictions on economy and movement and military operations is estimated at 16.7 billion dollars (constant 2015 dollars), or six times the value of Gaza’s GDP, or 107% of Palestinian GDP, in 2018 ”, underlines the UNCTAD report which must be submitted at the UN General Assembly.

Israel has imposed a blockade on the Palestinian enclave since 2007, when the Islamist movement Hamas seized power there.

“Gaza has experienced one of the worst economic performances in the world,” says Unctad, which considers that it “is urgent” to end the blockade “so that its inhabitants can trade freely with the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories and the world” .

The report also strongly condemns “indiscriminate rocket and mortar shell fire against Israeli civilian population centers”, adding that “Palestinian militants must immediately end this practice.”

Without the lifting of the blockade, which would make it possible to set up a more formal economy, “it is very difficult to imagine that the fate in Gaza will be other than de-development,” said Richard Kozul-Wright, director of globalization strategies and development.

“It is really shocking in the 21st century that two million people can be left in such conditions”, he added during a press conference.

“According to the scenario analysis, if the pre-2007 trends had continued, the poverty rate in Gaza could have been 15% in 2017 instead of 56%,” according to the report.

Gaza today has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world at around 52%.

Investment “has practically disappeared” and represented only 2.7% of GDP in 2018.

Kozul-Wright, however, wanted to see “reasons for optimism” in the upcoming arrival of Democrat Joe Biden to the White House, after the administration of Donald Trump for four years gave unprecedented support to Israel. .

The report makes recommendations for achieving sustainable development: free trade with the West Bank and the rest of the world, reconstruction of infrastructure (including a desalination plant, ports, airports and fuel supply for the power plant). He also advocates that the Palestinians be allowed to exploit offshore gas fields discovered in the 1990s.

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