Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a "Third Intifada"?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

  • Deadly strike hits Gaza market despite four-hour 'truce'

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • Fourth female suicide bomber targets Nigerian city

    Read more

  • US rebounds to 4% growth in second quarter

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged with 'terrorist' murder

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya

    Read more

  • Dozens killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

Middle east

Four years into blockade, nearly half of Gaza jobless

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-06-14

Gaza’s unemployment rate has reached 45 percent, one of the highest in the world, as the Israeli blockade of the densely populated territory enters its fifth year, a UN relief agency has reported.

REUTERS - The Gaza Strip enters its fifth year of a full Israeli blockade by land, air and sea on Tuesday with unemployment at 45.2 percent, one of the highest rates in the world, a U.N. aid agency report said.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) found that by the second half of 2010, real wages had fallen 34.5 percent since the first half of 2006, when sanctions were imposed by Israel after Hamas, an Islamist group that now rules the Gaza Strip, won a Palestinian legislative election.
Israel responds to Gaza jobless report
 
The UN says the full-on blockade began a year later.
 
"These are disturbing trends," said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, "and the refugees, who make up two-thirds of Gaza's 1.5 million population, were the worst hit."
 
Densely populated Gaza has a population of more than 1.5 million, mostly spread along the 40 km (25 mile) coast of the Mediterranean enclave between Israel and Egypt.
 
"It is hard to understand the logic of a man-made policy which deliberately impoverishes so many and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution," Gunness said.
 
Israel continues to blockade Gaza, controlling the flow of imports and tightly restricting access to Israeli territory mainly to urgent humanitarian cases, to prevent Hamas militants who are supported by Iran and Syria from obtaining weapons, explosives and ammunition.
 
It partly relaxed its grip a year ago in response to international pressure, allowing in more trade goods and expanding the secure logistics hub at Kerem Shalom crossing to a potential 400 truckloads of goods per day.
 
UNRWA provides food staples and schools for Gaza's refugee population. The enclave has no airport or seaport for freight.
 
The U.N. has recently asked countries to dissuade those pro-Palestinian groups with plans to break the blockade by sea in so-called "international humanitarian aid" flotillas that Israel says are simply politically motivated provocations.
 
Gaza's pressure cooker atmosphere has been relieved since the fall of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak this year and a change in policy by Cairo, a party to the blockade with Israel, which now opens the southern border crossing at Rafah daily for civilian traffic, though not for trade.
 
But UNRWA reports that Gaza's working-age population (those over 15) is estimated to have grown by 2 percent in the second half of 2010 from the first half, increasing the demand for jobs that do not exist in its broken economy.
 
Captive Shalit
 
This month marks another anniversary for Gaza: Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was seized by Hamas in a cross-border raid into Israel near Kerem Shalom on June 25, 2006.
 
He has been held at an unknown location for five years, despite intermittent negotiations in secret to swap him for hundreds of Palestinians serving sentences in Israeli prisons.
 
The release of Shalit, who will be 25 later this year, has become a political cause celebre in Israel. The permanent vigil kept by family and supporters near the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a frequent stop for visiting foreign dignitaries.
 
The elusive deal to free Shalit has stumbled on Israel's reported refusal to release certain Palestinians -- those imprisoned for involvement in lethal attacks on Israeli civilians.
 
While freedom for Shalit would probably ease tensions between Israel and Hamas somewhat, it would have little effect on the unchanged rationale for Israel's blockade.
 
The Islamist group Hamas refuses to recognise the Jewish state or renounce violence and is shunned in the West as a terror organisation. Netanyahu has said no country could be expected to negotiate peace with Hamas under such conditions.
 
The full UNRWA report on Gaza employment conditions can be read at http://www.unrwa.org/userfiles/201106083557.pdf

 

Date created : 2011-06-14

  • EGYPT

    Rafah crossing into Gaza reopens after shutdown

    Read more

  • GAZA

    Tension flares as Egypt curbs use of Rafah crossing

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Egyptian authorities seek to halt march to Gaza

    Read more

COMMENT(S)