UN: Israeli occupation stunts Palestinian economy

Al Jazeera 

The economy of the occupied Palestinian territories would be at least twice as large if the 49-year-old Israeli occupation was lifted, a new United Nations report has found. "Occupation imposes a heavy cost on the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which might otherwise reach twice its current size," reads the report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Tuesday. The report, which analyses the economy of the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip for 2015, underlines Israeli "restrictions on the movement of people and goods; systematic erosion and destruction of the productive base; losses of land, water and other natural resources," as some of the main factors hindering the territories' ability to thrive. It adds that the separation of the Palestinian market from international markets, the blockade on Gaza, expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and the construction of the separation wall on Palestinian land, as further causes for the underdeveloped state of the Palestinian economy. "In 2015, Israel withheld Palestinian fiscal revenue for four months, donor aid declined and Israeli settlements continued to expand into the Occupied Palestinian Territory, while poverty and unemployment remained high," according to the report.