Israeli occupation costs Palestinian economy USD 2.5 bn a year: UN

Palestinian demonstrators clash with Israeli security forces on November 26, 2019, in the West Bank city of Ramallah following a demonstration against the US policy shift on Israeli settlements in Palestinian Territories and following the death of Palestinian prisoner Sami Abu Diyak

Ramallah: Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories has cost the economy of the Palestinians more than USD 2.5 billion a year for the past two decades, a UN report said Monday.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report estimated the total fiscal loss to the Palestinian government between 2000 and 2017 at USD 47.7 billion.

The figure included USD 28 billion in accrued interest and USD 6.6 billion in leakage from Palestinian fiscal revenues.

It said the amount would have been enough to eliminate the Palestinian government's USD 17.7 billion budget deficit over the same period more than twice over.

The report argued if the USD 47 billion had been invested sensibly in the impoverished Palestinian economy, it would have created an extra two million jobs over the 18-year period, or 110,000 a year.

The report was presented at the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS) in the West Bank city of Ramallah, home to the Palestinian government.

Misyef Jameel, senior researcher at MAS who worked on the report, said they only measured the direct fiscal impact.

The real figure for all loses was likely much higher, he said.

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