Friday, July 30, 2010

Gaza unemployment facts

Palestinian Arabs released some statistics about the West Bank and Gaza on the occasion of World Population Day.

One of the statistics was that unemployment for the first quarter of the year was at 33.9% in Gaza and 16.5% in the West Bank.

While the Gaza number is very high, giving Gaza one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, there is an assumption made that this high rate is because of the Israeli closure of Gaza.

This is not quite the case.

Gaza's unemployment rate before Israel's closure was at 32.3%.

It is true that the unemployment rate had soared to perhaps as high as 45% at one point, but right now it is not much worse than it was before the closure.

Looking at the unemployment trends in both the territories, there is one huge spike - where Gaza's unemployment rate jumped from 19% to 34%, and West Bank unemployment from 12% to over 21%.

That year was 2001.

So when people complain about Israeli policies that are causing such economic problems for Gazans, keep in mind the single event that devastated their economy more than any other over the past four decades: their decision to start a terror war against Israel.