UN Envoy: Crisis in Palestinian Lands Inflicted $500m Damage to Palestinian Economy
The UN Middle East coordinator said Tuesday that the prolonged fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza has inflicted more than $500 million in damages to the Palestinian economy, according to the Japanese Kyodo online news agency.
Terje Roed-Larsen’s remarks came in a statement published after a meeting Monday with donors to the Palestinians and senior officials in the Palestinian Authority, said the online news agency.
“Palestinian living conditions are falling fast, and safety nets are falling thin,” said the UN official.
He described the Israeli blockade on the territories as counter-productive as it was actually creating a less secure environment, reported AFP.
larsen also said that because of the Israeli closure, unemployment in the Palestinian territories has also risen to at least 40% of the work force, wiping out the gains made since 1996 when the 30% unemployment rate dropped to 12% last year, according to Kyodo.
The UN official noted that there could be no end to the current violence until there is real political progress on the ground. And there will be no lasting peace until there is real improvement in the economic conditions of Palestinians, according to AFP.
He voiced particular concern over the rise in poverty rates which he said the United Nations estimated would reach 32 percent by the end of the year -- up from less than one fifth of the population in September.
Almost half the Palestinians were now living on less than 2.10 dollars a day, AFP added – (Several Sources)
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