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Posts tagged ‘economy’

The future of Gaza looks bleak

There were grimly familiar headlines last week, as a new United Nations report warned that Gaza could be uninhabitable by 2020 if present trends continue. This latest warning arrives three years after the UN similarly predicted that the Gaza Strip would not be “a livable place” by 2020 without drastic action to improve basic infrastructure and services.

The new report, published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), is a thorough analysis of the economic reality of the occupied Palestinian territory. The report lays blame with Israel’s “discriminatory policies”, describing how Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip in 2014 led to a 15 percent drop in the latter’s gross domestic product, sending the Palestinian economy into its first recession since 2006, with unemployment shooting up to 44 percent. Read more

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False hopes for Palestine

Over the last six months, there have been numerous reports on the apparent signs of hope in West Bank cities such as Ramallah, Nablus, and Jenin. The Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, has also enjoyed flattering coverage in the likes of Newsweek and the New York Times, with his unilateral state-building strategy praised by a variety of commentators. The Israeli government, for its part, has trumpeted improvements in Palestinians’ daily lives – from the easing of restrictions on movement, to a boosted economy. Yet as I discovered during a visit at the beginning of this year, these sunny reports bear no relation to Israel’s colonisation of East Jerusalem and West Bank, where the permanently-temporary occupation continues to defy state-building efforts. Read more

Economy first in Palestine?

With Israeli domestic politics focused on the election early next year, the various players are busy manoeuvring themselves into positions they feel will count in their favour come voting day, including Likud’s strong contender, Binyamin Netanyahu.

On Sunday, Netanyahu repeated his belief that the best way forward with regard to Israeli-Palestinian peace was to prioritise helping the Palestinian economy from the bottom up. Insisting this was not an “alternative” to negotiations, ‘Bibi’ argued that “economic prosperity significantly reduces terror and the foundations of war”. Read more

Money in the bank

Bethlehem recently got a spring-clean. The frenzied rubbish collection and freshly painted road markings meant only one thing – important visitors were expected. This week, an estimated 1,000 foreign representatives from hundreds of companies gathered in the West Bank city for the Palestine investment conference, to discuss private-sector projects valued at around $2bn.

According to the conference organisers, the three-day event, co-ordinated by the Palestinian Authority, had a simple slogan: “You can do business in Palestine.” Scheduled speakers included Tony Blair, in his role as the Quartet’s special envoy, the Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, and the United Arab Emirates minister of economy, Sheikha Lubna Khalid Sultan al-Qasimi. Read more