PALESTINIANS BEAR THE ECONOMIC COST OF CONFLICT WITH ISRAEL
May 28, 2004
Even if there is a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the past few years have left Palestinians with a devastated economy, according to figures from Andres Martinez.
- In the Gaza strip, with a population of 1.5 million, the percentage in poverty -- defined as a daily household income of less than $2.10 -- has exploded from 20 percent to 80 percent in less than four years.
- The West Bank and Gaza together have lost almost 40 percent of their per-capita domestic product, and private investment plummeted from nearly $1.5 billion in 1999 to less than $100 million in 2002.
- Palestinians receive more annual foreign aid than any other people, some $325 a person.
- The number of Palestinian migrant workers in Israel has declined to fewer than 50,000 from some 150,000 four years ago.
The economic viability of the eventual Palestinian state must also worry Israel. Even if an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank does eventually take place, if Israel erects a massive physical and economic wall the economic prospects for Palestinians are bleak, says Martinez.
Source: Andres Martinez, "One State or Two, Israelis and Palestinians Share the Same Economy," May 28, 2004, New York Times.
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