Business & Economy

Alcatel chosen by the Palestinian operator Jawwal as mobile infrastructure supplier

Jawwal, the Palestinian mobile operator has chosen Alcatel to replace part of its GSM network infrastructure, in the Gaza area. The multimillion dollars project will be completed by beginning of next year. Under the terms of the contract, Alcatel will be responsible for the supply, installation, commissioning and integration of its multi-standard GSM/GPRS/EDGE/WCDMA radio access solution, including a period of optimization assistance. “One of our main goals is to continuously improve the quality of the services we provide to our customers,” said Hakam Kanafani, Chief Executive Officer of Jawwal. 

World Bank: Little chance of economic revival without lifting closures

A disengagement plan that is accompanied by a rolling back of Israel’s closure policy and a stronger Palestinian commitment to reform will bring the Palestinian economy out of its present stagnation, according to a World Bank report released today. Titled Stagnation or Revival? Israeli Disengagement and Palestinian Economic Prospects, the report further asserts that only significant new efforts by both parties can justify a major increase in donor aid beyond existing levels. The report states for an economic recovery to be possible, Israel will need to roll back the security-related system of restrictions on the movement of people and goods imposed since the beginning of the intifada. 

UN calls upon Israel not to exploit natural resources in occupied territory

Expressing concern over Israel’s extensive destruction of agricultural land and orchards in occupied Arab territories, the General Assembly would call on that country not to exploit, damage, cause loss, deplete or endanger natural resources in those territories, according to one of six draft resolutions approved today by the Second Committee. Approving that draft by a recorded 144 votes in favour, the Committee recommended that the Assembly reaffirm the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land and water. 

Worldbank: "Nearly half of Palestinian population lives in poverty"

Four years since the outbreak of the intifada in September 2000, the Palestinian economy continues to be mired in deep recession, according to a World Bank report released today. The third in a series of reports that examine the impact of the socio-economic crisis in the West Bank and Gaza reveals that although the Palestinian economy recovered in 2003, this upturn is short-lived. The economy remains severely depressed compared with the pre-intifada period, with closures stifling economic activity and restricting the movement of people and goods. 

Olive oil harvest continues to face challenges for Palestinian farmers

What petroleum is to Saudi Arabia, olive oil is to Palestine. Olives are a staple crop to the rural Palestinian communities traditionally dependent on agriculture. Olive groves represent over 40% of the cultivated area in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and represent almost 80% of the cultivated fruit trees. Each day during the olive harvesting season here in Palestine the media is full of stories of olive oil farmers and olive pickers being harassed, detained, robbed, violently attacked, critically wounded and in some cases even being shot and killed while attempting to harvest their olives on their own land. In the last four years, Israeli forces have uprooted almost 400,000 olive trees with a value of over US$ 60 million. 

Israel bringing Palestinian economy to brink of collapse

Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian territories and its destruction and exploitation of their resources had brought the Palestinian economy to the brink of collapse, the Observer for Palestine said this morning as the Second Committee began its discussion of permanent sovereignty of Arab peoples in occupied lands over their natural resources. She said Israel had continued unlawfully to confiscate Palestinian land, build and expand its illegal settlements and bypass roads and raze agricultural land and productive trees. Israel had diverted water, destroyed irrigation wells and flattened, since 2000, more than half of the fertile land in Beit Hannoun, a major agricultural area in northern Gaza. 

Danger: Olive harvest, settlers on the prowl

The olive harvest season is usually a happy occasion for farmers, but Fares Hanani looks ahead to this year’s harvest with trepidation. At the age of 70, he has seen plenty of harvests come and go on the mountainous terrain near Beit Fourik he and his brothers inherited from their father and grandfather, but the last couple of years have been especially difficult. Two years ago, the Israeli government financed the construction of “security zones” around Nablus area settlements, some as wide as 400 meters and all complete with electrified fences and security cameras. 

Safety net for Palestinian fishermen

Many Gazans have traditionally depended on the sea for their livelihood. Of the estimated 1.3 million people living on the Strip, some 40,000 live off fishing. But Israeli restrictions on the movement of Palestinian fishermen over the past three years have left many destitute, including Sad. Since 2002, Gaza fishermen have been banned from going beyond six nautical miles from the shoreline. There have been long periods when that distance was cut in half and in southern areas of Gaza , like the cities of Rafah and Khan Younis, fishing has frequently been totally banned. 

Survey: 70 percent of Palestinian households need assistance

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics conducted another round of the survey on the impact of Israeli measures on the economic conditions of Palestinian households. Data collection was conducted in the second quarter of 2004. The survey found that 226,000 Palestinian households lost more than 50 percent of their usual income and about 22.6 percent of Palestinian households in the Gaza Strip suffered from highly critical living conditions. The survey indicates that 59.7 percent of Palestinian households decreased their income during the Intifada of which 62.5 percent lost more than half of their usual income. 

UNCTAD stresses vital role of small-, medium-sized enterprises in rehabilitation of Palestinian economy

Unless immediate action is taken to improve the supply capacity of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the Palestinian economy will be effectively transformed into one of subsistence, warns a new UNCTAD study.  The study notes that the protracted conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory has generated profound structural distortions and changes in the functioning of these enterprises that are unlikely to be reversed once political stability is achieved. It examines the SMEs’ contribution to economic growth by shedding light on their life cycle and the factors influencing their establishment, survival, growth and decline before and after the ongoing crisis.