UN: 2020 is the most difficult year in the Palestinian Authority

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The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said that the year 2020 was the most difficult economic year since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, for reasons related to the Israeli occupation and the Corona pandemic.

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It mentioned “UNCTAD” in its annual report issued on Tuesday, and presented its details at a press conference in Ramallah, in the center of the West Bank, and the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Coinciding with the economic downturn in 2020, it is added to a general weakness that has continued since 2019.

The report considered that “the Corona pandemic, along with the Israeli occupation measures, made the year 2020 the worst year for the Palestinian Authority since its establishment in 1994.”

In March 2020, Palestine was exposed to the first wave of the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, “as the Palestinian National Authority was forced to close completely, down to the current fourth wave.”

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Despite the severity of the pandemic’s shock, “the occupation remains the main obstacle to development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” according to the UN report.

He added, “Before the emergence of the Coronavirus, the Palestinian economy was in a state of disintegration and instability, and the general political and economic environment was characterized by a continuous deterioration.”

Prior to 2020, the local economy was facing weak production, geographical fragmentation, and fragmentation in local markets.

Coupled with restrictions on the import of inputs and technology, the loss of land and natural resources for settlements, and the constant leakage of financial resources into Israel.

While in 2020, the UNCTAD report indicated that more than 66,000 employees lost their jobs.

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Unemployment rose to 26 percent, and tourism lost 10,000 workers, equivalent to 23 percent of the sector’s workforce.

The Palestinian economy contracted in 2020 by 11.5 percent, the second-largest contraction since the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority in 1994, while the largest contraction was at the beginning of the current millennium, coinciding with the Al-Aqsa Intifada.

The report continued, “The contracting sector contracted by 36 percent last year, the services sector by 18 percent, the industrial sector by 13 percent, and the agricultural sector by a contraction of 9 percent.”

He touched on the Israeli restrictions on the Palestinian ICT sector.

This is through its control over the requirements for 3G – 4G – 5G services, and restrictions on importing, building, or maintaining ICT infrastructure.

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The occupied Palestinian territory ranks 123rd in the ICT Development Index, which is significantly lower than the global regional average, according to the UN report.