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80% unemployment for young women, $1000 GDP per capita — inside the UN’s ‘Gaza uninhabitable’ report

Israel/Palestine
on 14 Comments
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (“UNCTD“) issued a report (9/1/15) on the status of its assistance to the Palestinian people in the occupied territories (Gaza and the West Bank).  The report  paints a bleak picture. It does not clearly separate between the Gaza strip and the West Bank. For example, it does not spell out the revenues available to Hamas in its administration of Gaza. Nevertheless, the following can be gleaned with respect to Gaza.

Gaza is predicted to be uninhabitable within five years.

The population of Gaza is 1.8 million people, approximately the combined total of the cities of San Francisco and San Jose California.

Through eight years of military blockade and three successive wars in 2008, 2012, and 2014, Israel has destroyed and degraded the Gazan infrastructure and economy. Unemployment in the Gaza strip is at 44 percent. Six in 10 households suffer from food insecurity.

Since 2007 exports from Gaza are banned and imports and transfers of cash are severely limited. Flow of all but the most basic humanitarian goods has been suspended. Per capita GDP in Gaza is 74% of what it was prior to the Oslo accords. The report indicates a real GDP per capita in constant 2004 dollars of ~$1,000–about $2.70/day.

Among young women the unemployment rate is 80%. The ramifications of persistently high unemployment will be devastating in the long term, says the report,  as training and education among the long term unemployed become obsolete.

The latest military operation in 2014 has destroyed virtually all of what was left of the middle class in Gaza, says the report, relegating “almost all of the population into destitution and dependence on international humanitarian aid.”

During the military operation last summer, more than 500,000 Gazans were displaced, and more than 100,000 remain so as of mid-2015. A partial list of damage listed in the report includes:’

  • 18,000 housing units destroyed or badly damaged
  • 26 schools destroyed and 226 damaged
  • 17 hospitals and 56 primary health centers damaged
  • Gaza’s sole power plant severely affected by damage, lack of fuel, and extensive damage to power lines
  • 20-30% of the water and sewage network damaged
  • Water de-salination plant in Deir al-Balah damaged
  • 220 agricultural wells destroyed or badly damaged
  • 40,000 agricultural workers affected by damage to land and destruction of livestock
  • 247 factories and 300 commercial establishments destroyed or badly damaged
The combined damage from the past three wars totals more than 300% of Gaza’s potential GDP at full employment.
Gaza faces a severe water crisis. It relies almost completely on a coastal aquifer as the source of its drinking water, but 95% of this water is not potable without treatment. Years of over-extraction have left the aquifer on the verge of collapse, threatening its long-term viability. Groundwater levels have declined and seawater has rushed in, increasing salinity and making the water not safe for drinking according to WHO standards. The aquifer may become unusable as early as 2016.
Destruction of sewage facilities has made matters worse. About 33 million cubic meters of untreated or inadequately treated sewage are dumped into the Mediterranean every year.
The electricity demand of the strip cannot be met. Only a fraction of needed electricity is available.
The development of gas fields discovered within Gaza’s waters could help a lot, but Israel’s occupation does not permit these fields to be developed.
As of now, Gaza lacks the resources and support to reconstruct the damage, it lacks the ability to develop its economy. The situation is bleak.
This post first appeared on Roland Nikles’s site.
Roland Nikles
About Roland Nikles

Roland Nikles is a Bay Area writer and attorney. He blogs here: rolandnikles.blogspot.com. And you can follow him on twitter @RolandNikles

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14 Responses

  1. ritzl
    ritzl
    September 14, 2015, 12:57 pm

    I believe $1000 p/c GDP is less than post-earthquake Haiti.

    And it’s occupied PALESTINE, dammit! Not some f’ing “territory.”

    If you can do nothing else constructive on this issue, at the VERY least don’t aid the destruction of Palestinian identity by adopting Zionist terms. Should we call Palestinians “territorians?” I mean after all, they live in “territories” that no one seems to know the name of.

    Or should we fully surrender and just call them Samarians?

    Palestine is a country. It is occupied by Israel. Use the right words.

    And yeah, it iS a big deal.

  2. Keith
    Keith
    September 14, 2015, 4:50 pm

    Over at CounterPunch, Jonathan Cook has done a review of the new book by Jeff Halper called “War Against the People.” This new book seems to me to be extremely relevant to the topic at hand as well as to the situation in the Middle East and, surprisingly, to the significant role Israel may play in one aspect of neoliberal globalization. Below I provide some excerpts with a link to the article which I highly recommend.

    Halper’s main conclusion is disturbing. Israel, he says, is globalising Palestine.

    After decades of controlling Palestinians under occupation, he notes, Israel is unrivalled in all these spheres. It uses the occupied territories as a giant laboratory for developing and testing new ideas, technology, tactics and weaponry.

    It is no coincidence, he believes, that the US is talking up global terror threats at the same time as wealth and power have de-territorialised, creating an archipelago of elite interests that stretch from parts of the US and Europe to Singapore and the Virgin Islands.

    Transnational corporations need secure corridors for the flow of capital and labour, he argues, as the much of the rest of the world turns into wastelands or slums.

    The concern is how to maintain a social order conducive to capitalism as great swaths of the globe are impoverished and migrants try to escape their desperate plight.

    This is where Israel has stepped in. The place where Israel has developed its ideas and tested them is the occupied territories, says Halper.

    The control of Gaza, for example, offers a blueprint for other states concerned about domestic surveillance, border security, urban warfare, migration threats, and much more.

    The Palestinians, in this sense, are an important resource for Israel. Without the occupied territories, Israel would be New Zealand. It would be a tourist destination, not a regional hegemon. (Jonathan Cook) http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/14/israel-securocratic-warfare-and-the-pacification-industry/

    • Bandolero
      Bandolero
      September 14, 2015, 6:25 pm

      Keith

      Halper’s main conclusion is disturbing. Israel, he says, is globalising Palestine. After decades of controlling Palestinians under occupation, he notes, Israel is unrivalled in all these spheres. It uses the occupied territories as a giant laboratory for developing and testing new ideas, technology, tactics and weaponry.

      Of course israel is seen by many of the Crazies and like-minded people as the best security model. However, there exists a huge problem with copying israeli wisdom. Jonathan Cook writes in the article quoted above:

      It also has increasingly close ties, says Halper, with regimes that are ostensibly its enemy, such as Saudi Arabia. “The Saudis are funding ISIS [Islamic State], so how does one explain their alliance with Israel? The common denominator is ‘security politics’. No two countries have interests more alike than Israel and Saudi Arabia.”

      Iranian leaders long say that Saudi’s strategy of bombing Yemen into submission is copying the Israeli method of bombing Gaza into submission. But is it clever to follow Israeli security wisdom? I doubt it. The key question is: How many friends has Israel made herself with her “security strategy” in Gaza? How many people in Gaza has Israel convinced to do what Israel wants? How has Israel changed her standing in the world with her “applied security strategies” in Gaza and the Westbank? I doubt the answer is positive for Israeli wisdom on security strategies. What Israel created are conditions for blowback on a giant scale.

      And that seems to be just happening with the Saudis following the Israeli model in Yemen, too. The murderous Saudi bombardement is doing hardly more than making mortal enemies of Saudi Arabia out of large chunks of the Yemeni population. Quote NYTimes, Sep 12, 2015:

      Airstrikes Take Toll on Civilians in Yemen War

      … More than a thousand civilians are believed to have died in the strikes, the toll rising steadily with little international notice or outrage.

      Rather than turning more Yemenis against the Houthis, though, the strikes are crystallizing anger in parts of the country against Saudi Arabia and its partners, including the United States. …

      Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/13/world/middleeast/airstrikes-hit-civilians-yemen-war.html

      So the Saudi security tactics copied from “security champion” Israel in Yemen are actually self-defeating. Be sure blowback is coming, not only to the Saudis in Yemen.

      • Keith
        Keith
        September 15, 2015, 11:11 am

        BANDOLERO- “The key question is: How many friends has Israel made herself with her “security strategy” in Gaza?”

        Empires and regional hegemons aren’t interested in making friends among the subject population. The 1% is interested in developing techniques for controlling the 99% which inevitably become alienated as a consequence of neoliberal globalization. The book is Halper’s attempt to answer why Israel is more influential than one would expect based upon other considerations. Halper’s conclusion is that Israel is at the cutting edge of the invasive, coercive technology and techniques of control which will be common in the neo-feudal dystopia into which we are heading. Will these techniques be successful? Apparently the global elites think so.

        Let me re-quote two sentences to make a point: “Transnational corporations need secure corridors for the flow of capital and labour, he argues, as the much of the rest of the world turns into wastelands or slums….The concern is how to maintain a social order conducive to capitalism as great swaths of the globe are impoverished and migrants try to escape their desperate plight.” These two sentences describing impoverishment and slums with hordes of refugees fleeing their desperate lives are what we are seeing now, and what we will see more of in the future dystopia into which the elites are taking us. This is a glimpse into a very dark future where Gaza is globalized. Where the opposition is destroyed, nations laid to waste.

      • Bandolero
        Bandolero
        September 15, 2015, 5:33 pm

        Keith

        Yes, I agree that Israel is globalizing it’s repression technics to the 1% in globalized markets and thereby feeds global repression on the model of the repression of the Palestinians. However, I think it’s not a clever move by the 1% to copy Israeli practice and follow Israeli advice on repression. Israeli oppression is far too heavy-handed to be successful in the long term as the Israeli way of repression usually produces strong blowback.

        Look at Iran: the shah followed all Israeli repression methods and advices, and what is the result? The same is largely valid for Latin America where decades of Israeli-style repression are currently followed by a left wing trend. And then Iraq: see how quickly the Iraqi people turned to Iran for help after being exposed Israeli-style Neocon repressions for some months after the 2003 invasion. All this is last not least blowback from Israeli-style repression on a massive scale.

        A more successful repression model for the 1% would be far less visible and the 99% people would feel more coopted than repressed so went along. Successful repression would more look like Bill Clinton running the empire in the 90s than W., Dick Cheney or Bibi.

      • lysias
        lysias
        September 15, 2015, 5:48 pm

        I think the reason the basis for a police state was set up under W. and Cheney is that our 1% (actually .01%) fears what sort of collapse the future may bring, if they are not able at any moment to turn our political system into a true dictatorship. They are afraid of cataclysmic climate change, they are afraid of economic collapse, they are afraid of anything that might bring on a revolution. They may even hate New Deal-style reformism enough to be willing to do all these things just to prevent a new New Deal.

      • Keith
        Keith
        September 15, 2015, 7:09 pm

        BANDOLERO- “However, I think it’s not a clever move by the 1% to copy Israeli practice and follow Israeli advice on repression.”

        Whether you or I agree with the effectiveness of the tactic is a moot point. The essential point is whether or not the global 1% is going in this direction. I tend to agree with Halper that our society is being militarized with the police becoming an occupation force. These policies have very real consequences for people like you and me whether or not we feel that the are effective for the 1%. I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on blowback. Following World War II, the U S has continuously intervened in the Third World spilling rivers of blood with little blowback or negative consequences. We are, after all, the only remaining superpower. Neither did the Roman empire suffer from putting too many cities to the sword. And in view of the interaction between US police and Israel, it would appear we are moving in that direction. I don’t like it any more than you do, but I think we need to be aware of this activity which seems to me to be consistent with neoliberal globalization. A couple of additional quotes.

        In the U.S. Space Command’s Vision for 2020, they anticipate that “globalization of the world economy” will lead to “a widening between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’” with “deepening economic stagnation, political instability, and cultural alienation” leading to violence and unrest among the “have-nots.”

        “According to a November 2008 report of the U.S. Army War College, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence establishment are preparing for what they see as a historic crisis of the existing order that could require the use of armed force to quell social struggles at home.” (“The Global Economic Crisis,” Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, Editors, p259)

    • ritzl
      ritzl
      September 14, 2015, 7:51 pm

      Using occupied “territories” is like talking about someone in the third person while they are standing right next to you.

      Rude and dismissive.

      Halper should know better.

      I’d like to know why this phrasing is used by people who ostensibly want to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people. Seems like willful disregard for supporting Palestinian identity would tend to significantly minimize the effect of otherwise beneficial advocacy.

      Is this a symptom of the cocoon of intentional disregard for Palestinians that Jewish-Israelis and libzios operate within? Can they simply not help themselves because that disregard is so pervasive in their bubble that they don’t recognize that they are doing it? Or does putting a name to the oppressed state a few meters away, PALESTINE, put them on the path to “pariah-hood” within Israel and with other “lefty” Israelis (i.e. outside the bounds of acceptable “discourse”)?

      Not getting what the hangup is.

      • amigo
        amigo
        September 15, 2015, 8:11 am

        “Using occupied “territories” is like talking about someone in the third person while they are standing right next to you. ” Ritzl

        Ritzl , I agree.We should be referring at all times to the Occupied State of Palestine.We should also refer to Israel as the State sans frontiere.

        On the upside , at least the obnoxious term “Disputed Territories” is pretty much defunct .But think how long it took to get that term out of everyone,s lexicon. I guess Jeff Halper and other folks who have backed Palestine for years consider gaining recognition of the term occupied is a big step forward.In fairness to Jeff Halper , he is a true friend of the Palestinian people.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        September 15, 2015, 5:16 pm

        Yeah. I agree amigo. Halper is true friend of the Palestinian people.

        Good points.

        Using Palestine instead if “territories” confers so much identity, agency, and power, and it’s such an easy rule to observe. It makes it all the more puzzling given the upside.

        But as you say, the habits may be so deeply ingrained and buried that it may be just that difficult to change one word. That in itself is remarkable, and a revelation of just how DEEPLY skewed the discussion is on this issue. A revelation to me anyway.

        Cheers.

      • annie
        annie
        September 15, 2015, 5:34 pm

        Halper should know better.

        jonathan cook wrote the article about halper’s book. he wasn’t quoting halper in the segments covered from the looks of it. i’m not sure if halper used that phrasing.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        September 16, 2015, 3:30 am

        Thanks Annie. You’re right.

    • ritzl
      ritzl
      September 14, 2015, 7:51 pm

      Thanks Keith.

  3. gayjewjap
    gayjewjap
    September 15, 2015, 3:38 pm

    To say this is a scandal is an understatement. It’s absolutely sickening; the sheer viciousness is unbelievable . There is not one shred of humanity left in Israelis and they can only suffer as a result.

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