Palestinian Official: PA Economy Suffering Severe Losses From Current Wave of Violence
A Palestinian official said the PA economy has suffered a huge blow since the onset of the current wave of violence, Israeli news site Walla reported on Tuesday.
Azmi Abdul-Rahman, in charge of the Palestinian Authority’s financial policies, told the Palestinian news agency, Ma’an, that the economy had incurred a NIS 5 billion loss, and that the hardest-hit populations are the residents of Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus and east Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem, which is visited by tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers, is currently empty, and this has hit Palestinian traders in the city very hard,” said Abdul-Rahman. He added that, according to Israeli figures, sixty percent of Palestinian businesses in east Jerusalem are currently in danger of closing down.
Palestinian tourism, too, he said, has been seriously affected, as it has already lost between NIS 500-600 million due to the lack of visits by the normally thousands of foreign tourists to east Jerusalem and Bethlehem on Christmas and the Gregorian New Year.
He also stated that since the surge of violence three months ago, nearly 6,000 Palestinians have been hospitalized, costing the PA close to NIS 1 billion.
The erection of new checkpoints in the West Bank by Israeli security forces to deal with the violence, and the closure of the trade crossing between the West Bank and Gaza, he said, have caused at least NIS 2 million in damages to Palestinian industry.
The uncertainty caused by the violence has also reduced investments in the PA and in Palestinian banks providing loans, he said.
Abdul-Rahman recommended developing a domestic Palestinian market to deal with the crisis, rather than relying on the purchase of goods from Israel.