Palestine

Gaza Strip faces dangerous financial crisis: World Bank

The World Bank says the besieged Gaza Strip has the world’s highest unemployment and is facing a “dangerous fiscal crisis,” nearly one year after Israel’s latest war against the coastal enclave.

In a report released on Friday, the World Bank said the current situation was the result of the ongoing Israeli blockade and its recent deadly 50-day war, which lasted from July 8 to August 26, 2014.

“The impact of the blockade imposed in 2007 was particularly devastating, with GDP losses caused by the blockade estimated at above 50 percent and large welfare losses,” the World Bank said in its report.

According to the report, the unemployment rate in Gaza increased in 2014 “to reach 44 percent,” a figure the World Bank says is “probably the highest in the world.”
The poverty rate in Palestinian territories has also reached 39 percent. The World Bank urged the international community to take action and implement reforms in order “to avoid a dangerous fiscal crisis” in Gaza.

The report said that of the $3.5 billion pledged by the international community for Gaza’s reconstruction just 27.5 percent, or nearly $1.0 billion, had been handed out so far.

The report was released ahead of the biannual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), which is responsible for coordinating international donor support for the Palestinians. The report is expected to be presented during the meeting.

This comes a day after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called on the international community to step up efforts aimed at expediting the construction of the besieged Gaza Strip and to boost the economy in the blockaded Palestinian territory as well as the occupied West Bank.

A Palestinian girl stands next to her mother cleaning the dishes outside a tent erected near their house that was damaged in Israeli shelling during a 50-day war in the summer of 2014, on February 20, 2015. (AFP photo)

A Palestinian woman and her children warm up around woodfire as they sit at their house that was damaged in Israeli shelling on February 20, 2015. (AFP photo)

The February 17, 2015 photo shows Palestinians checking the damage inside a United Nations-run school in Beit Hanun, in the northern Gaza Strip, which sheltered Palestinians whose houses were destroyed during the Israeli war. (AFP photo)

The Israeli war on Gaza last summer claimed the lives of more than 2,140 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including women, children, and the elderly. Hundreds of buildings and homes were also damaged.

The deadly aggression against the Gaza Strip came as Palestinians were already struggling with a 2007 Israeli-imposed blockade on Gaza, which has caused a serious decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

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