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19 Nov, 2016

320,000 families live below poverty line in Israeli-occupied Palestine

RAMALLAH, November 17, 2016 (WAFA) – More than 320,000 families in Palestine live below the poverty line and 400,000 people are unemployed, Labor Minister Mamoun Abu Shahla said on Thursday.

He told Marina Wes, World Bank West Bank and Gaza Country Director, that the situation in the West Bank and Gaza is very difficult due to Israeli policies, particularly its restriction on Palestinian investment in Area C of the West Bank, and a decline in donors’ aid.

Area C, which makes over 60 percent of the area of the West Bank, is under full Israeli military control.

Abu Shahla said unemployment is higher among young people and new graduates, which may affect their behavior in society.

“This forces us to search for practical solutions that could lower this high rate of unemployment and improve people’s economic conditions,” he told the World Bank official during a meeting in Ramallah.

“We have found a solution through the recently activated Palestinian Fund for Employment and Social Security to provide rotating loans to young people with not more than 5 percent interest and a grace period of one year to start their own business, along with training and technical support to help them run a successful and sustainable business that will be able to create jobs,” he said.

Wes acknowledged the difficult situation in Palestine and the high unemployment, which she said has to do with the situation on the ground in addition to the Israeli occupation and its measures that include restriction on movement and trade, according to the statement by the Ministry of Labor.

She said this creates difficult challenges to economic growth and development that requires collective work to find the right solutions.