A recent World Bank study on poverty in the West Bank and Gaza Strip revealed on Monday linked poverty to the Israeli occupation.
The study, presented during a workshop in Ramallah marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and attended by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, indicated that poverty pockets varied according to the Israeli military presence, especially internal checkpoints, blockades and inspection points.
It gave examples of Gaza under the Israeli blockade and restrictions, and Hebron, the poorest governorate in the West Bank with the heaviest Israeli occupation presence.
Unemployment rates in the West Bank and Gaza were among the highest in the world due to the severe lack of job opportunities and the direct relation between higher unemployment rates and occupation, said the study.
It added that unemployment rates among the younger population and women were particularly higher as the rates of unemployment among youth was 10% higher than the overall unemployment rate in 2009.
The World Bank study described the economic situation in the West Bank and Gaza as unique due to its fundamental dependence on international aid and on the Israeli economy, which controls its economic policy and trade.
It said human resources are incapacitated by internal and external barriers.
The study noted that the Palestinian economy highly depends on international aid in funding the public sector and for social aid.
Fayyad indicated that the decrease in poverty rates by 9% during 2007-2009, after the 7% increase during 2006-2007, reflects the public sector intervention with the international aid to the Palestinian Authority that enables it to address accumulated debts and conduct major development projects.
He stressed that the figures indicate a political reality consisting of the Israeli occupation that hinders the Palestinian economy’s ability to function, as well as the devastating effect of the Israeli blockade on Gaza, where poverty rate doubled that of the West Bank in 2009.
Fayyad called for an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory, stressing that the occupation is the main reason for PA’s dependence on international aid.