Study finds Israeli occuption costs Palestinians $6.9 billion a year in lost commerce

The Guardian reports on a new study showing that the Israeli occupation has deprived the Palestinian economy of $6.9 billion, which would amount to 85% of the current Palestinian gross domestic product. This is the result of daily occupation practices, such as lack of freedom of movement, restrictions over water usage and other natural resources as well as import and export limits.

In addition, the report outlines the ways the Israeli economy benefits from the “occupation enterprise.” One case study:

Pal Karm Company for Cosmetics, located in Nablus, sells cosmetics and skin care products in the local market and exports to Israel. Glycerin is an essential raw material for the company. Israel has banned the entry of glycerin into the Palestinian Territory since mid-2007. Ever since then, the company has been unable to sell skin care products in the Israeli market because the Israeli health authorities require glycerin to be part of such products. The company estimates its losses at 30% of its sales in the Israeli market for this product.

From the report’s (PDF) introduction:


The Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territory imposes a huge price tag on the Palestinian economy. Israeli restrictions prevent Palestinians from accessing much of their land and from exploiting most of their natural resources; they isolate the Palestinians from global markets, and fragment their territory into small, badly connected, “cantons”. As recently highlighted also by international economic organisations, including the World Bank, UNCTAD and the IMF, these restrictions are the main impediment to any prospects of a sustainable Palestinian economy.

Acknowledging this, and in spite of data scarcity and challenges in carrying out such an immense task the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy teamed up with the Applied Research InstituteJerusalem (ARIJ), an independent think-tank, to provide the first systematic quantification of the annual costs imposed by the occupation on the Palestinian economy. The main results of such analysis are presented in this bulletin, which aims to be a regular publication monitoring and quantifying the costs of Israeli restrictions on the Palestinian economy.

Many of these restrictions have been in place since the start of the occupation in 1967, reflecting an unchanged colonial attitude of Israel, which aims to exploit Palestinian natural resources (including land, water and mining resources) for its own economic benefits. This “exploitative” policy has been coupled by the desire of Israel to prevent any Palestinian competition with Israeli economic interests. This attitude is summed up by Yitzhak Rabin, while holding the post of Israel’s defense minister in 1986: “there will be no development initiated by the Israeli Government, and no permits will be given for expanding agriculture or industry, which may compete with the State of Israel” (UNCTAD 1986). This has been (and still is) reflected in a series of Israeli obstacles related to customs, transportation and infrastructure which have prevented the development of a competitive Palestinian tradable sector and of Palestinian trade with non-Israeli partners.

Today these restrictions have deepened further and according to our estimations in 2010 they are almost equal to the value of the entire Palestinian economy. The total costs imposed by the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian economy which we have been able to measure was USD 6.897 billion in 2010, a staggering 84.9% of the total estimated Palestinian GDP. In other words, had the Palestinians not been subject to the Israeli occupation, their economy would have been almost double in size than it is today.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 37 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. seafoid says:

    I think the numbers are way too low.
    what was Palestinian GDP in 2000 ? What would it be now if it had the same growth rate as Egypt over the period ? Or Bulgaria ? Subtract current GDP and the answer will be far higher than 85% of current GDP.

    Israel trashed the OT in 2002. What would GDP be like if Gaza’s airport hadn’t been destroyed, if Gaza had a working port?

    • DBG says:

      What would GDP be like if Gaza’s airport hadn’t been destroyed, if Gaza had a working port?

      There would still be a legal blockade to stop arms from being shipped into Gaza.

      • seafoid says:

        DBG

        Have you ever been to Gaza? i was there 11 years ago. I went back last year. What your people have done to Gaza will never ever be forgotten.

        cue moan about Sdeghot

      • Chaos4700 says:

        But at least there wouldn’t be a Star of David bulldozed into the runway. Is that “interfaith” enough for you?

        How come we can’t blockade Israel for having unsanctioned nuclear weapons?

        • DBG says:

          unsanctioned? unsanctioned by whom? did they sign the nuclear NPT?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Neither has North Korea and they still get sanctioned. Anyway, it figures that you’d come up with some sort of bullshit excuse to justify your “Jewish state” having weapons of mass murder. How badly do your people (friends, family, plurality…) need to be able to mass-murder millions of people in a single air strike?

        • Shingo says:

          did they sign the nuclear NPT?

          Listen to these sociopaths! OK DBG, should we assume you’d be happy with Iran having nukes so long they withdraw from the NPT.

          Tell me DBG. Would you be for or against Israel bombing Iran in that case?

        • eGuard says:

          DBG: did they sign the nuclear NPT?.

          Did that matter for Iraq?

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Why is it illegal for the Palestinians to arm themselves? Explain that to me, DBG.

        • eee says:

          Chaos,

          “Why is it illegal for the Palestinians to arm themselves?”

          Who cares if it is “illegal” or not? Who is the judge in this case, the UN that can’t pass a resolution about Syria? Yeah, we should listen to them. It is against Israeli interests and that is why Israel attempts stopping it.

          Who says you can’t blockade Israel? Give it a try, maybe you will succeed. You and Crowther should pool your assets, buy a dingy and get Crowther and his buddies to man it. Since you believe Israelis are cowards anyway, you would clearly be successful. Who would dare confront you? And Israel would be blockaded!

        • mig says:

          “Who cares if it is “illegal” or not?”

          ++++ Right. Straight from zionist archives ?

          “Who is the judge in this case, the UN that can’t pass a resolution about Syria?”

          ++++ UN can, but few members in SC can’t. Don’t blame UN from this.

          ” Yeah, we should listen to them.”

          ++++ You can’t even if you try.

          “It is against Israeli interests and that is why Israel attempts stopping it.”

          ++++ Hello Witty….here is your partner to tango. Justice just went to sewers.

        • seafoid says:

          Jews with sticks aka Israeli cowards

          link to btselem.org

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Who cares if it is “illegal” or not?

          So now it doesn’t matter if Israel’s blockade is legal or not? Why don’t you take that up with DBG, eee.

        • Shingo says:

          Who cares if it is “illegal” or not?

          Yeah, it’s not like Israel is a nation of laws or a democracy. Who cares?

        • Shingo says:

          Who is the judge in this case, the UN that can’t pass a resolution about Syria?

          Blame the US and NATO for that. When the UN passed the no fly zone resolution, NATO/US decided it meant permission to start bombing Lybia to rubble and killing Lybians.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          You know you have arrived as a mondoweiss commenter when eee brings you up out of the blue on a thread you havent been on!!

          YES!!!

        • DBG says:

          Shingo, the Arab League gave them the OK.

        • Shingo says:

          Shingo, the Arab League gave them the OK.

          So what? NATO and the US went to the UN to get a resolution to permit no fly zones, no the Arab League.

          As for the Arab League, that was a sleazy deal wheerby NATO got to bomb Lybia in return for turning a blind eye for the crackdown in Bahrain.

      • Funny that they couldn’t care less about arms, but are more concerned to stop wheelchairs and medicine getting in, as well as vital materials to rebuild the Israeli wanton destruction of their homes, mosques and schools. And prevent Gazan produce getting out. Nothing legal about that, not that you care.

        • Rania says:

          justice, I’ll just answer for eee and save him the trouble:

          Who cares if it is “illegal” or not? Who is the judge in this case, the UN that can’t pass a resolution about Syria? Yeah, we should listen to them. It is against Israeli interests and that is why Israel attempts stopping it.

          Getting wheelchairs and medicine and food and vital building materials is against Israel’s interest in ethnically cleansing Palestine of Palestinians, so who cares? And if you don’t like it, you can pool your assets and buy a dingy and try to stop the all-powerful Israel. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

        • DBG says:

          Rania, Gaza is 99.3% Muslim and .7% Christian. Who are you talking about getting ethnically cleansed from Gaza? Also the population increased 3.2%. I just don’t see it.

        • Rania says:

          You’re right. What’s happening in Gaza is worse than ethnic cleansing.

        • Making life impossible by jailing an entire population, most of them completely innocent of any violence, trashing their water and food supplies, blockading them in, refusing to let them trade, build or develop is ethnic cleansing, as it is in the West Bank, since the long term goal is clearly to make life so unliveable that they will leave. Not to mention the heartless cruelty and uniquely vindictive nature of this collective punishment and jailing – that is illegal by the way, although why anybody in their right mind would even think it is acceptable, legal or not, is beyond most people’s understanding. It is collective strangulation, a denial of their right to exist, and a determination to push them all into the sea/desert. You, meanwhile, are more concerned about what is the appropriate phrase for this action, and if you can call it something else, then that makes it ok.

        • Rania says:

          I’m sure DBG still doesn’t see it, justice. He probably thinks Sharon’s dismantling of the Jewish settlements in Gaza was ethnic cleansing, never mind that it paved the way for the slow and ongoing genocide of the 99.3% Muslim population and the .7% Christian population of Gaza. My aunts and uncles and cousins are part of that .7% Christian population, DBG. They are experiencing what Israel is doing firsthand, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t vote for Hamas, so that old collective punishment trope doesn’t really work on them. Also, in case you need more, my father was ethnically cleansed from Gaza in 1967. He was in law school in Egypt in 1967 and so Israel stripped him of his right to return and he has been separated from his family and his home ever since. I guess it doesn’t really matter if you see it or not; the world is starting to see, and you are helping every time you post here.

        • Bumblebye says:

          The Russell Tribunal will be holding a conference next month, Nov 5&6, the agenda being “are Israel practices against the Palestinian People in breach of the prohibition on Apartheid, under International Law?”
          link to russelltribunalonpalestine.com

        • Chaos4700 says:

          DBG you are LYING. I know for a fact there are more Christians than that in Gaza, on anecdotal evidence granted, but there are no reliable census numbers. Not the least of which being, your friends and family in Israel blew them up when they destroyed most of the governmental buildings in Gaza (including the Parliamentary Building).

        • DBG says:

          Chaos how can you know something for a fact if there aren’t reliable census numbers?

      • Shingo says:

        There would still be a legal blockade to stop arms from being shipped into Gaza.

        The blockade is not legal and it is not intended to stop weapons being shipped, but yeah, it would likely exist.

  2. seafoid says:

    These are the policies that are destroying the Palestinian economy

    link to btselem.org

    For 16 days, Israel delays arrival of Mahmud a-Najar, 15, at hospital in East Jerusalem for cancer treatment, Jan. 2011.

    Mahmoud a-Najar, 15
    On 17 October 2010, a Monday, I was at home because it was a festival. Around 11:30 A.M., my mother returned from the market, and I went down to help carry up the things she had bought. When she saw me, she asked, “What happened to you? You’re pale.” I said I didn’t know. I picked up a few bags and carried them to our apartment, which is on the fifth floor. My mother asked my brothers to take me to the doctor, but we didn’t go, because we thought that it was only the flu.

    My condition didn’t get any better over the next few days. It got worse. I felt tired and weak most of the time and couldn’t walk a lot. On 4 December, my brothers and my uncle took me to Kamal ‘Adwan Hospital. I underwent tests and my white blood-cell count was high. I took another blood test, and the count came out high again. The doctor referred me to a-Shifaa Hospital for treatment. At a-Shifaa, the doctors took another blood count. I was hospitalized in the internal medicine department because they thought it would be difficult for me psychologically to be with cancer patients whose condition was worse. The doctors thought I had leukemia. I underwent more blood counts at a diagnostic center next to a-Shifaa, along with a spinal test. They found out for certain that I have blood cancer .

    Two doctors prepared a form for treatment abroad, and my uncle Muhammad took it to the department that issues the referrals for treatment abroad. The next day, 14 December, we received the referral. My uncle made an appointment for me at Augusta Victoria Hospital, in East Jerusalem, on the 28th of December. That same day, the 14th, we received confirmation from Augusta Victoria, inviting me for treatment.

    My uncle took all the medical documents, the referral, and the invitation from Augusta Victoria Hospital and went, the same day, to the Ministry for Civil Affairs, in Gaza City, to apply for a permit to enter Israel. He got there at 3:00 P.M., and the office was closed. He returned the next day and submitted the request for me and my mother, so she could go with me. Then he came to visit me at the hospital, and I asked him if he submitted the request. I was very frightened because of my condition, and also because my father is ill and suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, and liver and heart problems. My father had a permit to enter Israel. He went to Beilinson Hospital, in Israel, last week. At first, the Israelis refused to issue the permit, but he finally got it. Now, I’m waiting for the permit so I can get treatment for my illness.

    I didn’t get the permit by the 28th, the day of the appointment. Somebody from the Palestinian Civil Affairs Ministry called and said that the Israeli army wanted somebody other than my mother to go with me. My uncle gave them the names of a few aunts, on both sides of the family, but all were rejected. At the end, we got a permit for an aunt on my mother’s side. On 2 January, my uncle went to the ministry to check if an answer had arrived. The clerk said the Israeli side was still studying my file.

    The Israelis still are not allowing me to get treatment. The doctors told me that my kidneys are barely functioning, and that I have a swollen spleen. Two days ago (10 January), they prepared a medical report for the ministry to send to the Israelis, so we’d get the permit faster.

    Now I also have pneumonia, and I am unable to walk without help. I get a blood transfusion every day. My blood tests are getting worse and my hemoglobin is down to eight.

    My condition is very bad. I want to receive treatment as soon as possible. I am still young and want to live like my friends, who are in good health. I want to go back to school and my friends and to play basketball at school again.

    Mahmoud Khaled a-Najar, 15, was a resident of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. His testimony was given to Muhammad Sabah on 12 January 2011 at a-Shifaa Hospital, Gaza City.

  3. seafoid says:

    The importance of the mitzvot

    link to btselem.org

    Testimony: Exploitation of Palestinian laborers working in settlements in the Jordan Valley, November 2010.

    I live in al-Jiftlik. I finished high school last year and began to study at al-Quds Open University in Nablus. To finance my studies, I have been working as a seasonal agricultural laborer. There is no work available in my village, so I work at nearby settlements. I’ve worked at Ro’i, Massu’a, Argaman, Beka’ot, and Niran. Since the work is mostly agricultural, it is not regular and is seasonal. The employee’s rights are not protected, and nobody supervises the work conditions.

    Over the years, I’ve worked at growing peppers, tomatoes, and dates. I’ve also worked in chicken coops. For a short time, I worked with a metal worker. I’ve worked in the date groves more than with the other crops. I got the work with the dates through a contractor from my village who works with the Argaman settlement. He transports 40-50 laborers to the kibbutz in his truck. Ten or so of the laborers sit in the front and the others sit in the rear cabin. He covers the rear cabin with rough cloth and closes the back door so that nobody will fall out.

    By law, he is allowed to transport in the truck up to four passengers. He stays in contact with other drivers on the road, and in that way manages to avoid getting caught by the police. In the entire period I worked for him, he never got a ticket.

    The last work I did was for a member of the Argaman settlement, where I worked in the palm groves. We cut the thorns with long knives, thinned out the dates, tied the clusters, covered them, and picked them when they were ripe. At the end of the season, we gathered the palm leaves. There was a crane to get us to the top of the trees. For the small palm trees, we used steel ladders. Some of the knives they gave us were old and in poor shape.

    The day begins at 5:00 A.M. The contractor collects us and drives us to the worksite. We start work at six o’clock. We work six hours a day, not including a half-hour break for breakfast, meaning we work six and a half hours. We receive 60 shekels* a day. Some laborers, who work for other employers, earn 53 shekels, and the permanent laborers earn 65-70 shekels, depending on seniority and type of work. A skilled laborer receives 70 shekels. We are not paid for days we don’t work, and if we work half a day, for whatever reason, we get paid half a day’s wages.

    We aren’t paid on a regular basis, but ultimately I always get my pay. We are not insured for work accidents, and we don’t get severance pay or other compensation when the work ends.

    Despite these conditions, I have to work and will continue to work with the same employer or for someone else. I have no option. After all, 60 shekels is better than nothing.

    * The minimum wage at the time this testimony was given was NIS 20.70 per hour

    Walid Khalil Abu Shahin, 20, is a laborer and a resident of al-Jiftlik in Jericho District, the West Bank. His testimony was given to ‘Atef Abu a-Rub on 7 November ’10 in al-Jiftlik

  4. eGuard says:

    However, we should include the economy of semi-resident Tony Blair in the Palestinian one. Then the bottom line will show no commercial loss.