A recently published report by the World Labor Organization shows that the Palestinian economy has been severely damaged by the Israeli closure imposed on its territories in the past several months, reported Al-Hayat daily.
The report shows that 40 percent of Palestinian workers in the West Bank, as well as 40 percent of Gaza residents are unemployed. Approximately 60 percent of the Palestinian population lives below the poverty line, earning less than $360 a year.
Current unemployment rates, which have doubled since the eruption of present political crisis in September 2000, are a “burning fuse, which could ignite regional violence,” according to Rafik Al-Natsheh, Palestinian Labor Minister.
The ongoing turmoil in the region has been more damaging to the Palestinian economy than any previous social or economic crisis. Al-Natsheh added that over $11 million daily is currently lost as a result of the border closures. The Arab Labor Organization maintains that since September a total of five billion dollars had been lost.
In the past, over 150,000 Palestinians used to travel to work in Israel each day, 40,000 of which held labor permits. However, with the implementation of Israel’s ever tightening border closures, especially following bombing incidents in its main cities, nearly 100,000 Palestinian workers have been left stranded. ― (MENA Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )