IMF urges improvements in Gaza Strip, West Bank
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on the international community to rev up measures for the reconstruction of the besieged Gaza Strip and to boost economy in the blockaded Palestinian territory as well as the occupied West Bank.
In a report released on Tuesday, the IMF evaluated the reconstruction process in the Gaza Strip, which suffered a deadly Israeli onslaught last summer, saying that the rebuilding process “is moving far more slowly than expected.”
The Washington-based crisis lender, in the report, highlighted the colossal size of destruction in the besieged Gaza Strip because of the Israeli aggression, estimating the economic cost of the 50-day Israeli war on the blockaded territory at USD 4 billion.
“While notable progress has been made recently with the provision of materials for the repair of individual homes, larger construction projects that are required for a job-creating economic recovery are still pending,” the report appraised.
Palestinian children play amidst the debris of houses destroyed during the 50-day Israeli war last summer, in the town of Beit Hanun, the Gaza Strip, March 13, 2015.
The IMF further noted that the economy in the two Palestinian territories was hit by a recession in the year 2014, describing the economic outlook for the areas as “highly uncertain.”
The report also listed Israel’s blocking of tax revenues for the Palestinians as one of the moves further straining the economy in the Palestinian territories.
In January, Israel blocked over USD 100 million in tax revenues after the Palestinian Authority applied to join the International Criminal Court.
The IMF, which has projected the economic growth in the West Bank and Gaza Strip at 2.5 percent and 7.0 percent respectively, says Palestinian authorities alone cannot recover the economy in the territories, urging “additional donor aid” to “fully close the financing gap” there.
Israel heavily pounded the blockaded coastal sliver in the recent war that started on July 8 and ended on August 26 with an Egyptian-brokered truce. Over 2,140 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including women, children, and the elderly, were killed in the Israeli onslaught on Gaza. Around 11,000 others were injured.
Israeli forces targeted hundreds of factories and businesses over the course of the 50-day assault. The IMF had said in another report that the war caused the Palestinian economy to contract by about 15 percent.
Palestinians face various forms of Israeli aggression nearly every day, including the heavy-handed suppression of protests in the occupied West Bank and deadly aerial attacks in the Gaza Strip.