07/25/2008, 00.00
PALESTINE
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More than a third of Gaza residents living below the poverty line

The figure is in UNRWA’s 2007 socio-economic report. Unemployment stands at 45 per cent in the Gaza Strip, especially among young people. The situation is better on the West Bank.
Gaza (AsiaNews/Agencies) – About 35 per cent of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents was living below the poverty line at the end of 2007. On the West Bank the situation is somewhat better for Palestinians; only 20 per cent lived below the monthly poverty line, this according to the socio-economic report for 2007 by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) that was released yesterday. For the authors of the study the Occupied Palestinian Territories “continued to have the worst performing economy in the Middle East-North Africa sub-region.”

Based largely on data from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics the report indicates that unemployment, in real adjusted terms, stood at an “unprecedented high” of about 45 per cent, affecting especially young workers.

The difference between residents of the Gaza Strip and those on the West Bank is manifest also in terms of actual dollars. For Gazans the poverty line is set at US$ 457 per month for a family of six compared to a monthly poverty line of US$ 572 for a six-member household on the West Bank.

The latter area’s better economic situation is due to less rigid sanctions after Hamas took over Gaza and Israel imposed a tighter blockade on the Strip during the period examined in the report.

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