2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; the longest occupation in recent history. For the Palestinian people, these were five decades of de-development, suppressed human potential and denial of the basic human right to development, with no end in sight.
… UNCTAD (2015) emphasized that for Gaza to be a liveable place in 2020, enormous reconstruction efforts were urgently needed in sectors such as health, education, energy, water and sanitation. However, the humanitarian and economic situation has instead worsened since then. According to the World Bank, Gaza’s economic performance over the past two decades has been the worst in the world.
… One of the harshest consequences of occupation is an unemployment rate that is persistently among the highest in the world. In 2016, unemployment remained extremely high, at 18 per cent in the West Bank, 42 per cent in Gaza and 27 per cent in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; more than twice the regional average (ILO, 2017; World Bank, 2017). However, as high as the official rate of unemployment is, it does not fully reflect the real depth of the problem and the attendant economic suffering and waste of human resources… If the risky jobs in Israel and settlements did not exist, the unemployment rate in the West Bank would be more than 36 per cent, not much higher than the 42 per cent observed in Gaza. That is, without the problematic and vulnerable employment in Israel and settlements, unemployment in the West Bank would be nearly as high as the extremely high level in Gaza. Therefore, despite the conspicuously worse conditions in Gaza, it is crucial that with regard to the labour market, conditions in the West Bank are no less grim than conditions in Gaza. The entire economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in the West Bank or Gaza, is stifled and stripped of its capacity to produce jobs.
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