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Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
22 January 2008
Increasing Need, Decreasing Access:
Tightening Control On Economic Movement
The West Bank has limited natural resources and its economy depends on trade and remittances from jobs in Israel. Since the majority of the West Bank’s trade is with Israel, the current closure regime is forcing many West Bankers into reliance on aid and worsening the already deteriorating socio-economic conditions.
UN agencies currently provide food aid to more than 790, 650 Palestinians in the West Bank. A dependency, which according to the World Bank, is not temporary: "aid reliance dismantles existing economic structures and leads to a decline, which is difficult to reverse."
If the West Bank economy is to recover and grow sufficiently simply to finance the basic humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population, trade must increase substantially. In 2007, with reference to the oPt, the World Bank stated that no economy can develop without mobility
. Also the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan for 2008-10 (PRDP), “is built on the assumption that Israel is willing to take steps to remove administrative and physical barriers to the movement and access of people and goods”
Negotiations between the Government of Israel (GoI) and the Palestinian Authorities (PA) have included discussions on improving access as an essential element for security in the occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt). The ‘Agreement on Movement and Access’, which was signed in November 2005, has so far led to very limited, if any, improvements
According to the GoI, closure and movement restrictions for goods and people in the West Bank are necessary measures to protect Israeli citizens in Israel and in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Using the examples of Nablus City and Ad Dahariya, the present report examines how economic decline and the resulting humanitarian needs in the West Bank are inextricably linked to the decline in trade as a result of imposed closures and movement restrictions as well as drops in remittances from Palestinian jobs in Israel.
Complete document in PDF format