The Palestinian economy is losing seven to $10 million a day as a result of the Israeli blockade on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the UN's special coordinator for the Middle East said Wednesday, June 27.
Terje Roed-Larsen was quoted by the official Palestinian news agency WAMA as saying the "current situation is unprecedented since the (signing of) the Oslo peace accords in 1993" that led to Palestinian autonomy.
Roed-Larsen, who had been speaking to representatives of UN organizations working in the Palestinian territories, said the current unemployment rate was 60 percent in the Gaza Strip and 40 percent in the West Bank.
That compared with levels of 11 percent before the Palestinian intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation broke out late last September.
It is estimated that one-third of Palestinians, or around one million people are living below the poverty level on less than two dollars a day. Before the intifada broke out and the blockade was imposed, Israeli estimates say 130,000 Palestinians worked in Israel, of whom some 45,000 were in the illegal labor market. ― (AFP, Gaza City)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )