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The UNCTAD Report states that a large sum of money is necessary to repair the devastated infrastructure and economy in Gaza.
Economy Middle East

The UNCTAD Report states that a large sum of money is necessary to repair the devastated infrastructure and economy in Gaza.

A report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) states that reversing the effects of border closures, military actions, and de-development in Gaza will require billions of dollars in international economic assistance. The report was published on Wednesday.

The report stated that removing all restrictions is a necessary step for a long-lasting recovery, but it alone is not enough.

The statement suggests that donors and the global community should provide substantial financial assistance to help restore the significant destruction that Gaza has endured due to long-lasting limitations and closures, as well as frequent military actions. These factors have greatly hindered the economy and destroyed essential infrastructure.

The report presents information on the economic state of the Occupied Palestinian Territories until the end of 2022, before the recent series of catastrophic events caused by the attack on Israel by Hamas insurgents on October 7.

“The impact on the economy caused by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza is significant and needs to be assessed,” stated Richard Kozul-Wright, Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies at UNCTAD.

He mentioned that it was extremely challenging to evaluate the extent of the damage.

According to Kozul-Wright, the destruction of buildings and hospitals in the ongoing conflict makes it challenging to accurately estimate the financial impact, but it is likely in the billions of dollars. The report highlights concerns about the decrease in aid to the Palestinian economy and its dependence on external sources for fiscal revenue.

The report indicates that Gaza’s economy has been greatly affected by Israel’s blockade for several years, resulting in 80% of the population relying on aid from other countries. It also reveals that almost half of Gaza’s population is without employment and that its real GDP per capita is at its lowest point since 1994.

The report’s authors point out that due to the fact that three-quarters of Palestinian trade is conducted with Israel and that the Israeli shekel is the primary currency used, Israel holds significant influence over the fiscal policies of the Palestinian Authorities.

According to Mutasim Elagraa, the coordinator of UNCTAD aid for the Palestinian people, Israel collects trade taxes from Palestinians because their imports and exports must pass through Israeli-controlled borders.

According to him, Israel has significant control over the majority of Palestinian tax funds and regularly passes them on to the Palestinian government. However, there are instances where Israel may postpone or halt these transfers, leaving the Palestinians financially exposed.

On October 21, Israel eased its blockade on Gaza by permitting multiple shipments of food, water, and medical resources to enter the region. However, the Israeli authorities have declined to allow fuel into the Gaza Strip, alleging that Hamas is stockpiling it for potential military actions.

Kozul-Wright stated that the shortage of fuel will greatly affect the humanitarian aid being provided by the UN and is a crucial source of survival for the people of Gaza. The immediate consequences will be felt on the ground, but it is uncertain how this will affect the economy of Gaza in the long term.

The UNCTAD report suggests that in order to put an end to the continuous cycle of destruction and rebuilding in Gaza, a peaceful resolution must be negotiated in accordance with international law, as well as relevant resolutions from the United Nations and Security Council.

Although obtaining more financial aid from donors will be crucial for Gaza’s economic revival, the report emphasizes that this should not be seen as a replacement for lifting restrictions and closures. It urges Israel and all involved parties to fulfill their obligations under international law.