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Economy could be 'double' without Israeli occupation
Published Wednesday 08/02/2012 (updated) 13/02/2012 13:16
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Palestinians walk near the Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem.
(MaanImages/Luay Sababa)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A UN seminar in Cairo heard on Tuesday that the Palestinian economy would be double the size it is now if it was not subjected to Israel's occupation.

The seminar, held from Feb. 6-7, focused on quantifying the cost of Israel's occupation to the Palestinian economy.

The restrictions imposed on the Palestinian people by Israel were the main impediments to any prospects for a sustainable Palestinian economy, Jad Isaac, director of the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem, told panelists.

Israeli policies seek to exploit Palestinian natural resources, including land and water, for its own economic benefit, preventing the development of a competitive Palestinian production and service industry, Isaac said.

The restrictions imposed by Israel were almost equal in value to the entire Palestinian economy, meaning the total measurable cost of the Israeli occupation is around 84 percent of Palestinian GDP.

The confiscation of land and water resources and the mass uprooting of olive trees have also crippled the agricultural sector in Palestine, which cannot currently meet the food needs of Palestinians, let alone produce sufficient goods to export, economist Shir Hever said.

Occupation costs do not relate to 'security'

Heavy restrictions imposed on Palestinians in terms of accessing their own natural resources accounted for the majority of financial losses in the Palestinian economy, Isaac said.

The cost in terms of foregone revenue and higher cost for raw materials because of Israeli restrictions amounted to more than $4.5 billion a year.

While restricting Palestinian access to natural resources, Israel actively exploited the same water, land and mineral resources for its own economic gain.

The expansion of irrigated agriculture, the extraction of salts and minerals from the Dead Sea, the mining of much of the gravel and stone available in the West Bank, and the development of the Gaza offshore gas field are all potential areas of large economic revenue for the Palestinian economy which are prevented from developing by Israeli restrictions, Isaac added.

Shir Hever, economist at the Alternative Information Center, said that Israeli society has actively pursued the occupation despite viable alternatives. Israelis have voted for political parties who promised to actively maintain the occupation and one in seven Israelis have moved to the occupied Palestinian territories.

There was no question whether the damage to the Palestinian economy by Israeli occupation was significant, the question was how to measure it properly, Hever added.

Socio-economic impact

Tarek Alami, head of a conflict related section in the UN economic and social commission for Western Asia, said that since 2004 around 21,000 Palestinian have been displaced as a result of house demolitions.

Over 2,144 Palestinians were injured by Israel forces in 2011 and around 125 people were killed. Two-thirds of those cases were linked to settlement activity, Alami added.

Around 190 Palestinian children were prisoners in Israeli jails at some point during 2011, with 63 cases of ill-treatment of minors documented.

The two day seminar in Cairo was organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and was attended by academics, civil society members and dignitaries.

The seminar focused on quantifying the cost of Israeli occupation.
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1 ) AKeenReader / UK
08/02/2012 18:43
Why doesn't the world take any action against Israeli's. Where is US who portray to all of us how much they care about humanity by showing solidarity towards the Syrians. All drama in front of the UNSC by the Americans & other western states.

2 ) betz55 / USA
08/02/2012 23:44
answer to #1 is AIPAC, the Isarel Lobby, and the Jews that control the media and banks. Just look at Obama...the audacity of hope became the audacity of nope for the Palestinians. He should be shamed of himself.

3 ) silver / phil
09/02/2012 02:50
the us and west are bias they care about humanity in syria but they turn blind while israel maltreat the palestinians.the iranian people suffer from the embargo due to israel castigatation. clearly israel is not for peace

4 ) judo / Canada
09/02/2012 04:41
The Palestinian causality statistics for 2011 according to Btselem are 112 Palestinians killed in 2011 by Israelis, of whom 43 were civilians, and 63 were confirmed to be armed Palestinian soldiers who were taking part in attacks against Israelis when they were killed. This is according to the Btselem web site. And most of the 43 civilians who were killed in 2011 were killed during Israeli attacks on armed groups who were rocketing Israeli civilians from within dense populated areas of Gaza

5 ) Ken / USA
09/02/2012 07:57
AkeenReader, sir snoot, it is thanks to your colonial office the British Colonial Office that more than 50% of the original "palestine" mandate was awarded as a gift to the Hashemite family of the Arabian peninsula to become the country of Trans-Jordan. In the less than 50% that remained west of the Jordan river, the British Colonial Office did all that it could to foster distrust and enmity. All that in the spirit of divide and rule.

6 ) christian palestinian / usa
09/02/2012 21:15
The fact that the Palestinian economu would double if the illegal israeli occupation ended is old news. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone around the world. The UN remains biased and useless for the occupied Palestinian people.

7 ) @ AkeenReader & Ken / USA
09/02/2012 21:36
@ #1,
See Judo#3, where Btselem reports "ONLY 112 Palestinians killed in 2011 by Israelis, with 63 being confirmed armed Palestinian soldiers who were attacking Israelis when killed, and most of the other were killed during Israeli attacks on armed groups", and then answer the question:
** "Why should the world take any action against Israeli's" ?? **

#5,
Hashemites were given 80% of the original palestine mandate
(89/110 km2), and of the rest, Jews were primarily given desert !!

8 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
09/02/2012 21:44
So if all this economic hardship is our fault (which it is) and if the W. Bank Palestinians want REAL, unhampered and totally beneficial economic prosperity (which they do) ... Then they should go EAST of the Jordan/Palestine River !!! ... Go to JORDAN/PALESTINE since it already occupies 75% of ALL of the TOTAL (Ottoman Empire) PALESTINIAN AREA and then they can all live and work TOGETHER !!! Don't tell me it can't be done ... IT CAN !!! So GO !!! ... (because WE are NOT moving out !!!)

9 ) Tibi / Tubas
10/02/2012 04:08
Double is Nothing. The Economy could be TEN TIMES Greater if the PLO would stop refusing to negotiate, compromise, and end the conflict with Israel !!

10 ) Amos / Israel
10/02/2012 11:02
Let's try again

Palestinian economy experienced one of the HIGHEST GROWTH RATE in last 2 years THANKS to its ADACENT THRIVING ECONOMY--ISRAEL

Wihtout ISRAEL- West Bank economy would have been NOTHING!

11 ) Tony B? / ME
10/02/2012 18:56
On the other hand it could be argued that Pals don't have any real economy. What they have is a black hole down which the West throws its tax-payers money for no good reason. It could be argued that Israel's economy would be increased by 78% if the wrong done by Winston Churchill in giving Jewish land to Jordan was corrected. It could be argued that such a powerful economy, unfettered by the terrorism born of Arab jealousy, would be of major advantage to Western civilisation. Time to choose...
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