UNCTAD: Palestinian economy in East Jerusalem left in 'Development Limbo' under Israeli occupation

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Mahmoud Elkhafif, UNCTAD’S Coordinator of the Assistance to the Palestinian people. Adapted from UN Webcast

The Palestinian economy in East Jerusalem has been progressively isolated and constricted and now wields less than half of the economic influence that it had in 1993, a new UNCTAD report says. A disabling economic environment, high and rising rates of poverty, faltering industry and services, restricted investment, housing shortages, and inferior social and municipal services all combine to create hardship for the city's Palestinian inhabitants and to stifle their economy's potential, the report contends.

In the study, entitled The Palestinian Economy in East Jerusalem: Enduring Annexation, Isolation and Disintegration, UNCTAD says the East Jerusalem economy constituted 15 per cent of the Palestinian economy prior to the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords, but has shrunk to an estimated 7 per cent in recent years.

Mahmoud Elkhafif is Coordinator of the Assistance to the Palestinian people, UNCTAD:

“We have to recognize that it's a territory under occupation and therefore, Israel as the occupying power has to meet its obligations by acting to improve the economic conditions in East Jerusalem and to end discrimination against Palestinian people in the city beginning with the issue of residency permits and also the issue of high tax paid by residents but almost very poor services provided to the city.”

The report says it has been estimated that the Israeli separation barrier has imposed over $1 billion in direct losses to the economy of East Jerusalem since its construction began in 2003.

The UNCTAD report urges a number of steps to enable renewed growth, including investments by the Palestinian public and private sectors, as well as donors, to address the key socio-economic challenges in East Jerusalem of (a) improving social protection and development; (b) spurring economic progress; and (c) protecting human rights.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’51″

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