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World Bank: Israelis Strangling Palestinian Economy


Israeli-imposed restrictions on Palestinians in the Palestinian West Bank impede easy access to fertile farmland and other resources, costing the Palestinians $3.4 billion a year, according to a new World Bank study. This land falls in Area C, which the Israelis agreed to turn over to the Palestinian Authority by 1998. They never did so, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahoo was caught on camera boasting that he had derailed these Oslo agreements. Instead, Israel has flooded hundreds of thousands of squatters onto Palestinian land in a naked grab of property from the stateless, helpless Palestinians. Palestinians suffering under Israeli Apartheid are cut up into Bantustans by a network of roads and checkpoints and cannot move freely through the West Bank.

Here is a summary of the World Bank statement :

The New Statesman points out of Area C,

Gaza Strip, which Israel occupies by surrounding it and controlling its sea and land access. Since the Egyptian government has taken a hard line toward the Palestinians in Gaza and closed the Rafah crossing, the strip’s 1.7 million people only have access to the outside world through Israel. They have run out of 145 types of medicine, and even their stock of medicine is only 2/3s of what is needed. They no longer have access to Egyptian hospitals, and must often wait months for a bed in an Israeli one. They often don’t have enough fuel to keep hospital generators going. Lack of electricity in a hospital can be life-threatening for many patients.

The World Bank report underlines how hollow are Netanyahu’s hopes of taming the Palestinians and getting them to accept the status quo through growing the economy. An occupation economy is always signficantly distorted, and anyway people are driven to rebellion not only by economic desperation but also by national humiliation. Few people in the world are more humiliated than the occupied Palestinians.

Peace can only come through recognition of Palestinian statehood or through finding some other way to give Palestinians citizenship in something. 

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