Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Egypt allows 300 Palestinians to exit Gaza

EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) -- Three-hundred Palestinians were allowed to travele outside of Gaza on Tuesday through the Rafah land crossing after Egyptian authorities briefly re-opened it for humanitarian cases, an official said.

Sharif Abdullah, Egyptian director of the Rafah crossing, told Ma’an that 85 Palestinians returned from Egypt while around 300 Palestinians traveled to the Egyptian side.

Egyptian authorities also allowed 60 trucks carrying Qatari construction materials to enter. more

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

PM meets Gaza private sector delegation

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – Interim prime minister Rami Hamdallah met Monday in his office in Ramallah with a delegation of businessmen from the Gaza Strip.

“Establishment of a Palestinian state can’t be completed without the Gaza Strip, and now it is time to finalize reconciliation and resume unity between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” Hamdallah told his guests.

Hamdallah added that he would be ready to create a joint committee of Palestinian officials and the private sector to be tasked with addressing all issues related to Gaza.

The Palestinian government, added Hamdallah, is ready to ship any goods and requirements to the Gaza Strip and to continue to ship medicines. However, pressure must be exerted on the Israeli government to make this process easier. He added that previously signed agreements to ship diesel for industrial use to run Gaza’s power plant are still in effect.

Hamdallah promised that in his first visit to Egypt, he would address the Rafah crossing issue to secure a solution for Gaza passengers and make travel arrangements easier. He also promised to work out arrangements to increase exports from the Gaza Strip. more