Business & Economy

World Bank: Gaza disengagement little impact on Palestinian economy

The World Bank released a paper warning that were the disengagement accompanied by the sealing of Gaza’s borders to labor and trade or by terminating supplies of water and electricity to Gaza, it would create worse hardship than is seen today. “Under such circumstances, the Plan’s assertion that Israel is no longer responsible for the population of Gaza will not resonate,” the paper noted. “Nor would donors appreciate the implication that they must bear the humanitarian consequences of this style of disengagement.” The World Bank regarded the Israeli plan as having little impact on the Palestinian economy, as it will only ease internal movement restrictions. 

Israel's budget discriminates against Palestinian citizens

Israel’s draft budget fails to address systematic discrimination against Palestinian Arab school children, Human Rights Watch said today in letters to the Israeli government. Members of the Israeli cabinet are expected to meet on Sunday to finalize the budget proposal before its submission to Knesset. “Prime Minister Sharon acknowledges that ‘education is the most effective tool to reduce gaps in Israeli society,’ but his budget perpetuates discrimination against children who are Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel,” said Clarisa Bencomo, researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Children’s Rights Division. “This budget does nothing to close the educational gap between Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens.” 

De-development Israeli style

The Oslo Agreement stipulation on the telecom sector is very clear. Any operator must be licensed by the Palestinian Authority if they desire to sell their services to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Not only are all of the Israeli cellular companies illegally operating in Palestinian areas without licenses, but the Israeli government is encouraging them by disrupting the ability of the Palestinians to develop their own telecommunications networks and refusing to take action against these Israeli operators for violating agreements. 

Inflation: Another Wall between Israel and the Occupied Territories

Inflation rates differ in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories, but they are both the direct result of Israeli policies. These policies are responsible for the deep recession of the Israeli economy, resulting in deflation, and for the harsh conditions of the economy in the occupied Palestinian territories, resulting in inflation. Besides property destruction and damages to infrastructure, the ability of local industry to import has been restricted even further, resulting in more pressure on the diminishing Palestinian industrial and agricultural sectors to meet the demands of the entire population. Shir Hever explains why Palestinian inflation is so high, tackles the causes of Israeli deflation and examines who benefit from this. 

Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation

The general segment of the substantive session of the Economic and Social Council continued today with consideration of the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, and the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan. The occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel continues to deepen the economic and social hardship for Palestinians. 

PALTEL's 7th General Assembly Approves Distribution of 12% of Profits to Shareholders

In its seventh annual meeting, PALTEL’s General Assembly discussed on Sunday (09.05.2004), in Ramallah and Gaza, administrative reports and financial statements for the year ending 31.12.2003. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Abdel Malek Jaber, vice-chairman of the board. It was also attended by the board members, senior management, company controller, financial auditors, a number of shareholders and interested individuals. The meeting was held via video conferencing connecting Ramallah and Gaza. 

World Bank paper urges major easing of Israeli closure measures and stepped-up Palestinian reform efforts

At the request of the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Government of Israel (GOI) and the international community, the World Bank has released a paper - Disengagement, the Palestinian Economy and the Settlements - which looks at the potential impact of Israel’s Disengagement Plan on the Palestinian economy. Of itself, Israel’s Disengagement Plan of June 6 will have very little impact on the Palestinian economy, since it proposes only a limited easing of closure. “Disengagement alone,” says James D. Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, “will not alter this dangerous, unsustainable situation. If disengagement is implemented with wisdom and foresight, however, it could make a real difference.” 

Cement and Corruption

Seven years ago, a Palestinian parliamentary panel conducted an investigation of the PA corruption. The panel exposed many official misgivings and abuses. It recommended that Civil Affairs Minister Jamil al-Tarifi, Planning and International Cooperation Minister Nabil Shaath and Transport Minister Ali Kawasmeh be brought to trial. They were never dismissed. Shaath and Tarifi are still cabinet members. Now, Tarifi is once more subject to parliamentary investigation for corruption. PA Minister of Economy Maher Masri was accused of negligence and fraude. Tarifi is accused of selling Egyptian cement, meant for rebuilding Palestinian homes, to Israeli companies. 

World Bank approves US$20 million grant as budget support to the Palestinian Authority

The World Bank has approved an emergency structural adjustment grant of US$20 million to be used as part of the Bank’s response to the immediate needs of the Palestinian Authority for budgetary assistance. After more than three years of crisis, the PA is facing severe economic and fiscal challenges with a financing gap estimated at US$650 million for 2004. “The provision of budgetary support is widely regarded as vital in maintaining a functioning PA,” says Nigel Roberts. 

Unemployment, poverty grips Palestinian workers

High unemployment continues to grip Palestinian communities in the Occupied Arab Territories, reaching an average of 35 per cent, the International Labour Office (ILO) says in a new report. A recent high-level mission to the area also found that “severe restrictions” on the movement of persons, goods and services were causing “severe losses in production, employment and income”. “The reality of life in the territories is one of strangulation of the economy.” ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said in the report.