Palestinian laborers protest against the continued Israeli siege and the spread of unemployment in Gaza City on May 1, 2018. (Photo: Ashram Amra/APA Images)
The economic and social situation in Gaza that has been declining for over a decade, has deteriorated exponentially in recent months. . . The situation has reached a critical point.
— Economic Monitoring Report to the World Bank Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, Sept 27, 2018 (PDF)
The latest Economic Monitoring Report to the World Bank Ad Hoc Liaison Committee [AHLC] quantifies the collective punishment and mounting hardship of the Gaza Strip:
- – 6% growth in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same months of 2017.
- 53.7% unemployment, over 70% for youth and 78% for women in Q1, 2018. The first figures from Q2 suggest that unemployment has risen a further 5%.
- 53% of Gazans – every second person – lives below the poverty line.
- 2% of Gazans receive an uninterrupted supply of water. 98% do not.
The cause is not in doubt: the government of Israel imposes “restrictions that are the main impediment” to normal economic activity. “The blockade has caused Gaza’s economy to deindustrialize”. As proportions of GDP, manufacturing and agriculture have declined by more than half since 1994. The blockade and repeated wars have caused Gaza’s economy to grow more slowly than all of its comparator economies (including the West Bank).
And try doing business in an economy this volatile: