Palestinian labour minister warns of impending societal implosion as a result of skyrocketing unemployment

Palestinian labour minister Nasri Abu Jaish has stated that he estimated unemployment in Gaza to be around 90 percent, up from approximately 47 percent before the Israeli war, with unemployment in the occupied West Bank also sitting around 25 percent, up from around 13 percent before October 7.

“Poverty and unemployment could lead to the destruction of Palestinian society and could lead to emigration,” warned Abu Jaish, who told Al Jazeera that 500,000 jobs had been lost in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

“Living conditions in the Gaza Strip are very hard and tragic, beyond what can be imagined,” Abu Jaish added.

“We can see that there is an inability to provide food and that Palestinians in Gaza are finding it difficult to obtain their basic needs, particularly food. What international and Palestinian bodies are doing has not filled the needs of the citizens.”

The minister stated that authorities were doing everything they could to bring more food into Gaza, but that Israeli policies were preventing sufficient amounts from entering.

New data from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Palestinian statistics office showed nearly 66 percent of jobs have been lost in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas on October 7.

Palestinians have seen their employment reduced by two-thirds in the Gaza Strip – equivalent to 192,000 jobs – since the outbreak of the war, the ILO and Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) reported.

The spillover effect on the economy of the occupied West Bank was also significant, with a one-third reduction in employment – equivalent to 276,000 jobs.

experts have warned that Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip has completely destroyed the besieged enclave’s economy.

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