The international community and the Palestinian CBS recently published new data regarding the economical growth in the Gaza Strip during Q2 of 2011.
According to the data, the GDP in the Gaza Strip increased and stands at 31% compared to the same time period the previous year and the unemployment rate is at the lowest it’s ever been in the last decade, 25%.
For the comparison, the quarterly GDP in the PA grew by 11% in Q2 of 2011, compared to Q2 of 2010. The growth was mostly effected by the Gaza Strip. During the same time period a growth of 5% in the West Bank was recorded.
The striking growth in the Gaza Strip reflects Israel’s decision to expand the civil policy towards the Gaza Strip, since June 2010, and reflects the relative security stability in the Gaza Strip. However, it is important to mention that said growth began from a law foundation and the GDP in the Gaza Strip constitutes only half of the GDP of the PA.
The unemployment rate is at the lowest it’s ever been in the last decade and is 25%, at this date. This continues the trend of the last three quarters.
“Not every day such positive data about the Gaza Strip is published, even when the situation is improving, a gloomy and unrealistic reality is portrayed” says COGAT’s spokesperson, Major Guy Inbar. “When such improvements in the economy and life quality in Gaza occur, it is important to publish these findings that slightly balance the situation report there.”
“The civil Policy towards the Gaza Strip deals with trade, export of agricultural goods, projects of infrastructure, education, health, water, electricity and the movement of people- all, important to life in Gaza. These competent separate between the civil population and the terror organization. This isn’t just humanitarian activity and the transfer of patients, like everybody thinks.” Major Inbar adds.
“Every day 100 business men from the Gaza Strip are allowed to cross in to Israel, and of course thousands of Palestinians are allowed to cross for medical treatments.”
“If we take the export field, for example, we have taken a number of steps during 2011. We held a number of professional conventions in order to explain the process of agriculture export at the CLA in Gaza and at the Land Crossing Authority. The relevant representatives from the international community participated in the conventions along with Palestinian farmers that studied the subject and presented their impressions and demands towards the upcoming export season. However it is important to remember that there are internal problems that don’t have anything to do with us. For example, the export of textile has been approved, but there are no reservations. The export of furniture has been approved as well and the required coordination has been made in order to export the products of a furniture factory in Gaza, but the factory burned down on November 14th 2011 and there are no further reservations at the moment. As far as we are concerned, the crossings are prepared for the export of vegetables, fruits and flowers, which is due to start any day.
The agricultural export began on November 27th and has been running without any problems due to the preparations and organized arrangements.
“We have approved 176 projects in the Gaza Strip,” said Major Inbar “35 projects have been completed, 70 are under implementation and 63 projects are waiting for tenders, the purchase of materials or are being delayed due to budget problems. There are 8 projects that were canceled at the request of the international organizations. It is important to mention that the extent of employees in the construction sector grew by 4,500 people due to the increase in the number of projects and construction in the Gaza Strip.
The numbers also show that : the construction sector is responsible for over 43% of the growth in the commodity in the Gaza Strip in the time period between Q2 in 2010 and Q2 in 2011, and the services and agriculture sectors are responsible for 15% and 14% of the growth, respectively.”
a) Housing Projects- 1,918 housing units will be built in 12 different projects. 4 of which were already completed, the other 8 are under implementation.
b) Health Projects- Israel has approved the upgrade of 6 hospitals and the construction and rehabilitation of 7 new clinical. One projects was completed, others are under implementation.
c) Education Projects- 57 new schools and kindergartens were rehabilitated and will be built in the Gaza Strip in 64 different projects. 7 of which were completed.
d) Water and sewage Projects- 27 infrastructure projects were approved including projects of establishment and rehabilitation of waste water treatment plants such as in Sech Ajlin and the northern WTP. 6 projects were completed.
e) Agriculture- 18 agriculture projects were approved; five of them have been completed. The projects approved include building hothouses, cooling rooms for fruits and vegetables, rehabilitating farm lands, wells and water reservoirs and ect.
The data published shows that during the first 9 months of the year, an average of 4,497 truckloads entered the Gaza Strip per month- an increase of 96% compared to last year.
Furthermore the transfer of raw materials to ten factories owned by the private sector in the Gaza Strip has been approved according to the proper controlling mechanism that Israel and the International community agreed upon. On November 15th 2011 the first shipment of equipment was delivered.
The data shows that Israel has approved an increase of the water quota transferred from Israel to the Gaza Strip, an addition of 3 million cubic meters (added to the 5 million cubic meters transferred today to the Gaza Strip).
As part of the civil policy that separates between the civilians and the terror organizations, Israel supports and assists UNDP to transfer equipment in to the Gaza Strip in order to upgrade its self production of electricity in the power stations in the Gaza Strip by building a transformer farm adjacent to the power station. The transformer farm will increase the energy production from 60 watt to 100-110 watt per day.
In conclusion, the growth trend in the Gaza Strip is impressive, and Israel’s policy towards the Gaza Strip is entitled to some of the credit for the notable economic parameters.