Palestinian Economy Would Double if Freed of Israeli Control, UN Says

A United Nations agency report illustrates situation in Gaza by noting that infant mortality rate is on the rise for first time in 50 years.

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Palestinians sit on the remains of their destroyed homes after returning to Beit Hanoun, Gaza, August 5, 2014.
Palestinians sit on the remains of their destroyed homes after returning to Beit Hanoun, Gaza, August 5, 2014.Credit: Finbarr O'Reilly, Reuters

The UN's development agency estimates the Palestinian economy could be twice as large as it is now if it were freed from Israeli control.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has reported for years about conditions in Palestinian areas. But its latest report issued Tuesday marked the first time the conference has tried to tally what it called "the staggering economic cost of occupation."

The report cited limits on movement, destruction of assets, expansion of Israeli settlements, and confiscation of land, water and natural resources among the "channels through which occupation deprives the Palestinian people of their human right to development."

It noted that recovery has been weak from a 2014 recession that UNCTAD attributed largely to the impact of Israeli military operations in Gaza.

The report illustrated the situation in Gaza with the rising infant mortality rate in the Strip, noting that it has risen for the first time in 50 years. It added that neonatal mortality is also on the rise, increasing from 12 to 20.3 deaths per 1,000 live births between 2008 and 2013.

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