UN: Palestinian economy crippled by virus, Israeli occupation

Pilgrims wear masks to protect themselves from coronavirus at public places in Bethlehem (Wisam Hashlamoun - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  September 28, 2021

The year 2020 was the worst for the Palestinian Authority (PA) since its establishment in 1994 due to the Israeli occupation and the coronavirus pandemic, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said yesterday.

UNCTAD said in its annual report that the PA’s economic decline in 2020 was a continuation of its already bad economic conditions in 2019.

It blamed the COVID-19 and measures taken by the Israeli occupation for the economic downturn across the occupied Palestinian territories.

Palestine has been hit by COVID-19 in March 2020, forcing the PA to impose a lockdown in an effort to stem the spread of the pandemic.

The report said despite the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, the Israeli occupation was the main obstacle to Palestinian development.

UNCTAD noted that more than 66,000 Palestinians lost their jobs and the unemployment rate soared to 26 per cent.

It said before the COVID-19 outbreak, the Palestinian economy was suffering disintegration and instability, amid economic and political deterioration due to the loss of natural resources to Israeli settlements built on Palestinian lands.

UNCTAD said the Palestinian economy in 2020 shrank by 11.5 per cent, which constituted the second-biggest decline since the PA establishment.