Days of Palestine

UN report warns of gloomy future of Gaza

Days of Palestine -

New UN report said on Tuesday that without international intention, growth of Palestinian population, mainly in Gaza would lead to greater crises.

The report indicated that the crises concerning the high rate of unemployment, strained infrastructure increase of militancy.

“We are on a downward spiral, especially in Gaza, and things are getting worse by the day,” said Anders Thomsen, director of the UN Population Fund’s office in the Palestinian territories.

“If that continues, you can of course only imagine that this will be an environment ripe for radicalisation and for the conflicts, so I think that should be avoided.”

The population in the Palestinian territories will double to 9.5 million by 2050, according to the UN study.

By 2030, the Palestinian territories would need 1 million new jobs just to keep unemployment at the rate it is now, the study found. Unemployment is currently 43 percent in Gaza and 18 percent in the West Bank.

It will be difficult to create new jobs to meet the growth in population, and unemployment numbers will likely soar, possibly becoming among the world’s highest.

“The report is a wake-up call for both Palestinian planners, for the international community but also for Israel,” said Thomsen.
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Currently, about three million Palestinians live in the West Bank, and more than two million live in the Gaza Strip, a coastal enclave.

Israel and Egypt have been imposing a strict blockade on Gaza since 2007. Israel claims the blockade, which contributed to difficult living conditions in Gaza, is necessary to prevent Palestinians from getting weapons while monitors and UN say it amounts to collective punishment.

In the 140-square-mile enclave, 60 percent of youth are out of jobs, and there is a severe electricity outage, unpotable water, a faltering economy and a poor health system.

The projected population boom would likely exacerbate the electricity shortage in Gaza, where today households receive 4-6 hours of electricity a day, as well as complicate efforts to resolve Gaza’s water crisis.