Tuesday, 8 October 2013

World Bank: Israel control of Area C costs Palestine $3.4 bln annually

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israel’s control over the largest part of the occupied West Bank deprives the Palestinian economy of an estimated $3.4 billion a year, the World Bank reported Tuesday.

This lost potential income is equivalent to some 35 percent of the Palestinian gross domestic product in 2011, according to a new World Bank report, "Area C and the Future of the Palestinian Economy."

The report, released Tuesday, is the first comprehensive study of the potential impact of the occupation on economic production in Area C. It blames the Israeli military’s exclusive control over the territory for undermining the Palestinian economy and contributing to wide-ranging unemployment.

"Since Area C is where the majority of the West Bank’s natural resources lie, the impact of these restrictions on the Palestinian economy has been considerable," the report concludes, and "the key to Palestinian prosperity continues to lie in the removal of these restrictions with due regard for Israel’s security."

The report also estimates that if Area C were to be returned to Palestinian control, government revenues would increase by $800 million, cutting the Palestinian Authority's fiscal deficit in half and reducing its crippling reliance on international aid. more


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