The Plight of the Palestinians
Here is an interesting article
by Melanie Phillips
on the current economic situation in the West Bank.
# As security has been strengthened in the West Bank and suicide bombings have virtually disappeared -- thanks overwhelmingly to Israel's much criticized security fence -- the tourism industry in the Palestinian areas has rebounded nicely. The city of Bethlehem saw 1 million tourists in 2008, an increase of 500,000 from the previous year. The city of Jericho saw 500,000 tourists in '08, an increase of over 100,000 from 2007. To put it in perspective, the entire state of Israel had 1 million tourists in 2008.
# The unemployment rate in the West Bank in 2002 was a whopping 31 %. This was during the second Intifada, when Palestinian terrorism was at its peak, and the Israeli security fence had not yet been erected. Today, that unemployment rate stands at 15 %. To put it in context, Israel's unemployment rate right now is at 9%, and the U.S. rate is hovering around 10 %. In the longtime West Bank terror hotbed of Nablus, which has now become an unlikely shopping destination, unemployment has dropped all the way down to 6 %.
# 229,000 trucks passed between Israel and the West Bank in the first half of 2009, a 41 % increase from 2008. This has helped lead to a 29 % increase in fuel deliveries to the West Bank between '08 and '09.
But wait. There's more!
Stock market: A 12.5% rise since the beginning of the year.
· Foreign investments in the West Bank: A six-fold increase (!) compared with the corresponding period last year, as a result of the economic conferences that were held in Bethlehem and Nablus, and of the improved security in the area (this figure was provided by the Palestinians and the Joint Economic Conference held on September 2).
Hmm, things certainly do change when change your outlook from murder and destruction to growth and prosperity. I wonder if this will burst any bubbles.
Labels: economy, Israel, Melanie Phillips, Palestinians, terrorism