UN: As Gaza siege enters its fifth year, unemployment stands at 45%

Israel/Palestine
on 27 Comments

From UNRWA’s Gaza blockade anniversary report:

As the Gaza blockade moves into its fifth year, a new report by the UN’s agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, says broad unemployment in the second half of 2010 reached an unprecedented 45.2 per cent, one of the highest in the world. The report released today, finds that real wages continued to decline under the weight of persistently high unemployment, falling 34.5 per cent since the first half of 2006.

“These are disturbing trends,” said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, “and the refugees, which make up two-thirds of Gaza’s 1.5 million population were the worst hit in the period covered in this report. It is hard to understand the logic of a man-made policy which deliberately impoverishes so many and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution.”

The UNRWA report finds that the private sector was particularly badly hit compared to the government sector. In the second half of 2010 businesses shed over 8,000 jobs, a decline in employment of nearly 8 per cent relative to the first half of the year. By contrast, the Hamas-dominated public sector grew by nearly 3 per cent during the same period.

“Our research indicates that since 2007, Hamas has been able to increase public employment by at least one-fifth,” said Gunness. “Even more striking, in what should have been a relatively good year for the Gaza private sector with the supposed easing of the blockade, the public sector generated 70 per cent of all net job growth as between second-half 2009 and second-half 2010. If the aim of the blockade policy was to weaken the Hamas administration, the public employment numbers suggest this has failed. But it has certainly been highly successful in punishing some of the poorest of the poor in the Middle East region.”

Download a PDF of the full UN report here .

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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27 Responses

  1. Justice Please
    June 14, 2011, 2:42 pm

    Just imagine what kind of political parties we would elect and how many rockets we would fire at our neighbours if our unemployment rate were 45%. Just imagine.

    • LanceThruster
      June 14, 2011, 4:53 pm

      I agree. In contrast the Palestinian reaction is downright subdued.

      Any time they have an opportunity for a little economic stability, the Israellis are sure to crush it. Think of how many Gazans could be employed in the natural gas industry (which is why the Israelis are bound to steal that resource as well).

      • IrishMark
        June 15, 2011, 8:31 am

        Regarding the gas, read the 2010 Mondoweiss post Chomsky says Israel is pillaging Gaza’s natural gas reserves
        If you look at a map of the gas field, you will see that Israel has put a well right on the border.

        Let’s not forget the role played by the Quartet’s envoy:-

        In 2006, British Gas “was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt.” (Times, May, 23, 2007). According to reports, British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on behalf of Israel with a view to shunting the agreement with Egypt. [globalresearch.ca]

    • Citizen
      June 15, 2011, 6:39 am

      Maybe this will help our imagination: By the time of FDR’s inauguration in 1933, the US unemployment rate hovered close to 25%. In July of 1932 the unemployment rate in Germany was 30.1%

      • Citizen
        June 15, 2011, 6:49 am

        U6 unemployment rate now is 15%.

      • Chaos4700
        June 15, 2011, 9:42 am

        And another thing to consider is during FDR’s tenure, Prescott Bush and his gang contemplated a coup to overthrow him. A coup! In the US!

        That’s why I worry about what’s coming for the US. As a society we have nowhere near the endurance, patience or collective common sense that the Palestinians have proven to possess.

        • Bumblebye
          June 15, 2011, 9:31 pm

          Your lot tried to foment a right-wing coup here in the ’60s when then PM Harold Wilson refused to put us into Vietnam. Well, it seemed to be working for them in so many other places, I guess they thought they’d give it a go….

  2. justicewillprevail
    June 14, 2011, 2:53 pm

    It’s deliberately punitive, of course. As well as driving people into the arms of extremists, it serves none of Israel’s interests apart from a thirst for punishment and humiliation. A thriving Gaza is in everybody’s interests, you would have to ask why Israel is terrified of Palestinian development and people living in dignity and freedom – their obsessive quest to destroy people’s lives who don’t happen to be in the right tribe is gruesomely sick nd twisted. Even the worst dictators haven’t caged an entire people and starved them.

  3. Daniel Rich
    June 14, 2011, 3:26 pm

    Anyone see some sort of resemblance between the Warsaw ghetto and Gaza? Has the victim really become the abuser?

    • Mooser
      June 14, 2011, 3:58 pm

      “Has the victim really become the abuser?”

      Do you think that can still be stated as a question?

    • mig
      June 14, 2011, 4:32 pm

      “Anyone see some sort of resemblance between the Warsaw ghetto and Gaza? Has the victim really become the abuser?”

      ++++ Well, judge yourself :

      link to whatreallyhappened.com

      If it walks like a duck, talks like a…..

      • Chu
        June 14, 2011, 5:02 pm

        Powerful link, mig. The pictures are worth a thousand words,
        when all we hear is the opposite messaging in the political/media
        machine. When are the Israelis going to look at Palestinians with empathy for all they’ve destroyed and not blame Hamas? These people
        didn’t want a war; they were totally unprepared.

    • Koshiro
      June 15, 2011, 5:50 am

      No. The victims of the Warsaw ghetto are dead, almost all of them. Out of the few who survived it, only a handful of old people remain, and they are not the ones calling the shots in Israel today.

      What we see at work in Palestine is plain old colonialism, complete with all the common trappings such as racism. It predates the Warsaw ghetto and it has no root – much less a justification – in the Holocaust. The role of the Holocaust for modern Zionism is purely an instrumental one. It is not an explanation for how this racist system of oppression came to exist – but it is a means of keeping it alive for long after its siblings in Algeria, India, Rhodesia and countless other places had been discarded to the scrapheap of history.

    • eljay
      June 15, 2011, 9:02 am

      >> Has the victim really become the abuser?

      It’s called “aggressor-victimhood”. It’s something Israel and the U.S. have as one of their “shared common values”.

  4. eGuard
    June 14, 2011, 3:38 pm

    My intuition sees a pattern. On February 28, 1955 Israel performed a “prearranged and planned attack ordered by Israel authorities” on the then-Egyptian Gaza Strip (UNSC Resolution 106).

  5. seafoid
    June 14, 2011, 5:18 pm

    Only 45% ? What are the 55% doing? GDP per head in Gaza is around $300. That is less than 50 miles down the road from Tel Aviv where a beer in an S&M club is $8.
    85% of parents in Gaza depend on aid agencies to feed their children.

    Is this what the Jewish state was about ? I wonder what Buber would say now.

    • justicewillprevail
      June 14, 2011, 6:08 pm

      Only 50 miles from Tel Aviv, a humanitarian disaster. Yet they flew to Haiti to get some PR for their ‘humanitarian’ work. Sick.

    • GuiltyFeat
      June 15, 2011, 7:43 am

      “where a beer in an S&M club is $8″

      TMI, seafoid.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 15, 2011, 8:13 am

        “TMI, seafoid.”

        Not at all, GF. There are people in dire need at the direction of your morally bankrupt country and the Eichmanns who set its policy. It is important that the world know exactly what is going on there.

        • GuiltyFeat
          June 15, 2011, 10:40 am

          @Woody, I have stated repeatedly my opposition to the siege of Gaza and my opinion that it’s probably evil.

          I have nothing else to add to UNWRA’s excellent and important report.

        • Chaos4700
          June 15, 2011, 9:06 pm

          So the only thing you can bother expending effort about on a thread about the suffering of the Palestinian people is a sniping sexual innuendo at seafoid?

      • Chaos4700
        June 15, 2011, 9:44 am

        THAT’S your only comment on this thread to date? And you claim you’re not a troll, GF? Are you bothered at all at what your country’s “Warsaw Ghetto fabulous” policy toward Gaza is doing to the people there?

  6. Graber
    June 14, 2011, 8:56 pm

    There is another, similar piece by Mohammad Omer at al Jazeera: “Gaza’s hospital stock running on near empty,” link to english.aljazeera.net

    We should all be outraged. And all support the US Boat to Gaza in any way shape or form we can.

  7. Chaos4700
    June 14, 2011, 11:13 pm

    Witty would have us believe this is evidence the Palestinians aren’t ready for their own state. Seeing as they apparently aren’t capable building institutions (when the real problem is that the Palestinians aren’t capable of building institutions that are immune to Israeli shells and bombs).

  8. IrishMark
    June 15, 2011, 8:24 am

    Chris Gunness is a hero.
    Let us not forget the Wikileaks cables: “As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to econoffs on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge”
    The situation in Gaza is wholly intentional.
    I wish the flotilla success. I fear that Greece and Egypt will bow to US pressure and do all they can to hamper its progress.

  9. stevieb
    June 15, 2011, 9:05 am

    “‘It is hard to understand the logic of a man-made policy which deliberately impoverishes so many and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution.”

    But that has been the policy the for the last 40 years. I’m sure most have heard the quote about the Palestinians walking about “like drugged cockroaches in a bottle” – the idea was/is to make the living conditions as squalid as possible so that they leave.

    And obviously some Zionists think that will work. Or at least make it easier to either remove or kill them all. Sounds harsh but for these psychotics it’s all the land – or none of it – for anybody else…