Last year was the worst on record for Palestinians in nearly three decades as the Covid-19 pandemic compounded the effects of Israeli occupation.
A slow or inadequate recovery in 2021 will heighten the risk of bankruptcy for small and medium-sized enterprises brought to the brink by the pandemic, Unctad said in its latest report on Tuesday.
The Palestinian economy shrank by 11.5 per cent in 2020, the second largest contraction since the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority in 1994, from growth of 1.4 per cent in 2019, according to Unctad data.
As economic activity ground to a halt last year, more than 66,000 employees lost their jobs and unemployment rose to 26 per cent. The labour force participation rate declined to 41 per cent in 2020, from 44 per cent in 2019. The crisis engulfed all sectors of the economy, including tourism, construction, services, industrial and agricultural sectors.
Palestine recorded 398,946 Covid-19 cases and 4,046 deaths as of Tuesday.
The second quarter was the worst, as all key economic indicators nosedived. GDP shrank 18 per cent, two thirds of establishments completely shut down, unemployment soared to 39 per cent, while investment, export and imports fell significantly, according to the UN agency.
"Despite the pandemic-induced slowdown in human activity in the region and around the world, 2020 registered the highest number of demolitions and displacement of Palestinians in recent years."
Despite UN Security Council resolution 2334 that bans the creation of settlements, Israel approved or advanced more than 12,150 homes in settlements in 2020, the highest since 2012, Unctad said.
In 2021, Israel created more than 280 settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The settler population grew to more than 650,000 in early 2021 from 198,315 in 2000.
"Settlements dispossess the Palestinian people of their land, natural resources as well as their inalienable right to development, entrench occupation and pre-empt a meaningful sustainable two-state solution," the Unctad report warned.Source : Safa