Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories has cost the economy of the Palestinians more than $2.5 billion a year for the past two decades, a UN report said yesterday.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report estimated the total fiscal loss to the Palestinian government between 2000 and 2017 at $47.7 billion.
The figure included $28 billion in accrued interest and $6.6 billion in leakage from Palestinian fiscal revenues.
It said the amount would have been enough to eliminate the Palestinian government’s $17.7 billion budget deficit over the same period more than twice over.
The report argued if the $47 billion had been invested sensibly in the impoverished Palestinian economy, it would have created an extra two million jobs over the 18-year period, or 110,000 a year.
The report was presented at the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS) in the West Bank city of Ramallah, home to the Palestinian government.
Misyef Jameel, senior researcher at MAS who worked on the report, said they only measured the direct fiscal impact.
The real figure for all loses was likely much higher, he said.
Palestinians seek a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
In the West Bank, most of which is controlled by the Israeli army, Palestinians have limited self-rule.