Damages to Gaza economy from blockade hit US$2.6 billion
A specialized economic report forecasts Gaza’s economic loss from the Israeli blockade to be around $2.6 billion from 2008 to next December, representing 54% of Palestine’s GDP.
The report, released by the Gaza Chamber of Commerce, stated that the Gaza strip loses a million dollars a day as a result of the stringent blockade imposed on Gaza for the last four years.
The white paper stated that the above number does not include Israel’s latest war which had severe consequences on the economy. That war cost Gaza over $1.3 billion plus the loss of between 60 and 80 thousand job opportunities.
The blockade also has had a heavy toll on many sectors namely production and investment, foreign trade, agriculture and industry.
Palestinian NGO’s reiterated that Gaza is still subject to Israel’s ruthless blockade which hamper’s the movement of people and commodities. It curbs the import of crude oil, construction materials and places unfair restrictions on maritime activities, limiting Palestinian fishermen activities to only three miles off shore.
Despite Israel’s claims that the blockade has been eased, the report concludes the blockade continues to cause serious economic and social damage, including high poverty and unemployment rates, decreased industrial and agricultural activities, the suspension of exportation activities and the termination of private and infrastructure projects.
These organizations consider the blockade to be a form of collective punishment, forbidden by international laws and the fourth articles of the Geneva Convention.
Palestinian voices have called for the international community to step in and intervene to lift the blockade and enable Palestinians to exert their right of movements to and from the West Bank, to form one political, geographic and legal entity.
Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza back in June 2007 when Hamas won elections. Lately, though, Israel has decided to ease the blockade in response to continued international pressures. (Source: www.yallafinance.com)