The UN's special coordinator for the Middle East, Terje Roed-Larsen, said Tuesday, August 21, that the Palestinian budget deficit could reach $371 million for 2001 due to the restrictions caused by the crippling Israeli blockade on the Palestinian territories.
A UN report faxed to AFP said these measures "could lead to a deficit of $371 million, or 22 percent of the 2001 budget". "The economy has recessed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by 51 percent during the last three months of 2000", the report said.
Roed-Larsen said "the blockade which prevents the Palestinians from working in Israel has caused losses in salaries estimated at $182 million ", adding that unemployment has jumped from 73,000 people for the last quarter 2000 to 189,000.
On June 27, he said the Palestinian economy is losing seven to $10 million a day as a result of the Israeli blockade. Before the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation erupted on September 28, more than 100,000 Palestinians worked in Israel, about half of them without permits.
On Monday, the Israeli defense ministry said it "allowed the entry of 5,000 Palestinian workers for the olive picking season". ― (AFP, Gaza City)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )