Palestinians and Israelis dispute Intifada’s cost
Palestinian officials disagree with the Israelis about how much Intifadat Al-Aqsa is costing the Jewish state. Israel has said that its losses thus far total about one billion dollar, but the Palestinians put the amount at two-and-half times that.
Speaking at a press conference at the end of last week, Avi Ben-Bassat, the director general of Israel’s finance ministry said that economic effects of the Palestinian uprising will reduce the Israeli gross domestic product by about one percent. For the most part, he stated, the economic impact is limited to the building, tourism, agriculture sectors, all of which are heavily dependent on Palestinian labor. The total influence of the Palestinians on Israel's economy does not exceed 5 percent, he added.
But, speaking to the Al-Ayyam daily, Muhammad Ishtayyah, the director-general of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR), expressed his belief that Israel's difficulties are more significant. Israel, he said, already announced that its losses in the tourism sector alone amounted to $1.6 billion.
"We believe that the Israeli losses resulting from the events and attempts to separate the peoples exceeded $2.5 billion, that is the equivalent of [2 percent of] the Israeli gross national product,” Ishtayyah said.
The Palestine National Authority has stated Palestinian losses as a result of the uprising has equaled $1.1 billion thus far, which equals 18 percent of the Palestinian gross domestic product. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)