UN slams Israel for Palestine's 'de-development'
The United Nations has slammed Israel for the "de-development" of the Palestinian territories in a newly released report.
The report, published on Tuesday by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), said the development of the Palestinian economy is "far below potential." It also highlighted that unemployment levels among Palestinians have persisted at levels comparable to that during the Great Depression.
"2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; the longest occupation in recent history. For the Palestinian people, these were five decades of de-development, suppressed human potential and denial of the basic human right to development, with no end in sight," the report says.
It highlights the "continuing loss of land and natural resources to settlements and the annexation of land in the West Bank" as the key cause for the Palestinian territories' economic stagnation, as well as market fragmentation and Israeli blockades and restrictions on imports.
Israel has created this situation through its continued expansion of settlements and occupation of Palestinian land, despite the Palestinian Authority being set up in 1994 to pave the way for independent statehood.
While Gaza remains under siege by Israel, over 60 percent of the West Bank is under Israeli control - crucially including most of its natural resources.
In settlement areas, particlularly Area C, Israel prohibits Palestinian development in around 70 percent of the land.
The UN report says that continued occupation "presents a two-fold challenge, because it denies the Palestinian people access to their natural and economic resources and at the same time discourages donor support by minimizing development gains".