World Bank: 47% of Palestinians live below poverty line
Four years since the outbreak of the intifada in September 2000, the Palestinian economy continues to be mired in deep recession, according to a World Bank report released Tuesday.
According to the report, the Palestinian economy is still severely depressed compared with the pre-intifada period, with closures stifling economic activity and restricting the movement of people and goods.
"Closures are a key factor behind today's economic crisis in the West Bank. They have fragmented Palestinian economic space, raised the cost of doing business and eliminated the predictability needed to conduct business," said Nigel Roberts, World Bank Country Director for the West Bank and Gaza.
The report indicated that the living conditions of Palestinians have dramatically deteriorated. Despite economic stabilization in 2003, some 47 percent of Palestinians live below the poverty line. The World Bank also said that some 600,000 Palestinians cannot afford to satisfy their basic needs in food, clothing and shelter to survive. Facing what is known as subsistence poverty, this group - whose expenditures amount to less than $1.5 a day per person - has become increasingly vulnerable to economic shocks.
The unemployment rate stood at 25 percent in 2003, compared with 10 percent before the intifada. Young people in particular were hard hit - 37 percent were without jobs compared with 14 percent before the intifada. (menareport.com)