World Bank warns of worsening economic crisis in occupied Palestinian territories

The World Bank on Wednesday warned of a worsening economic crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories if the Palestinian Authority and Israel fail to resolve their differences over tax revenues.

According to the Israeli Ministry of Economy, Israel collects about $ 190 million a month from customs duties on goods destined for Palestinian markets passing through its ports, and then transfers funds to the Palestinian Authority.

Israel decided in February to deduct about $ 10 million a month in tax revenues, the amount paid by the Palestinian Authority to the families of Palestinian detainees or to the detainees themselves in Israeli jails, prompting the Palestinian Authority to refuse to receive the rest of the proceeds.

If the financial crisis is not resolved, the funding shortfall will increase from $ 400 million in 2018 to more than $ 1 billion this year, a World Bank report said on Wednesday.

He called for "a solution to prevent further deterioration of economic activity and living standards."

The report said the Palestinian economy was "severely affected" by restrictions on a number of goods.

Israel imposes restrictions on the entry of 62 items from the West Bank into the Gaza Strip, while 56 goods are barred from entering the West Bank from abroad.

"These restrictions have prevented the development of the Palestinian ICT sector and have created a large technological gap compared to neighboring countries," the report said.

The report called on Israel to ease the restrictions imposed, noting that the unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip rose to more than 50%, in addition to the deterioration of the living conditions of the Palestinians, and the contraction of economic activities by 7% in 2018.

In 2018, the United States cut its financial aid to the Palestinians by hundreds of millions of dollars.

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