Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

Palestinian losses from occupation near $50bn

Lost money would be enough to eliminate Ramallah's budget deficit, says UN report

People walk through the separation barrier which runs through Alram neighbourhood of Jerusalem Andrew Parsons / The National
People walk through the separation barrier which runs through Alram neighbourhood of Jerusalem Andrew Parsons / The National

The Palestinian economy has lost almost $50 billion so far this century because of Israel's occupation, easily enough money to eliminate the West Bank city of Ramallah's budget deficit, a UN report said on Monday.

Restrictions on free movement of goods, control of Area C in the West Bank and all border crossing points, and denying Palestinians use of their land and resources are among the Israeli government's measures that are worsening the economic impact.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development analysed data from 2000 to 2017 and estimated losses over that period were $47.7bn, or three times the size of the Palestinian economy in 2017.

“This could turn the economy from a position of economic deficit into one of budget surplus,” Mahmoud Elkhafif, special co-ordinator for assistance to the Palestinian people, said in New York.

The report will be presented to the 193-member UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

The findings were based on two economic components: Palestinian fiscal resources lost to Israel from money commonly withheld by Israel's Treasury; and other losses from policies and measures imposed under the occupation.

The annual loss rose in most of the years covered. It was $565.5 million in 2000 and hit a high of $1.9bn in 2017, the most recent year for which data was available.

The Palestinian Authority's budget deficit over the 2000-2017 period was estimated at $17.7bn.

Updated: December 3, 2019 12:39 AM

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