11/10/2023, 12.25
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Gaza, war sinks Palestinian GDP. Christians praying for peace

More than a month after the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, GDP in the West Bank and the Strip has dropped by 4%. The UN report also speaks of 400,000 new poor, which could rise to 600,000 if the war continues beyond the end of the year. In Jerusalem, the Latin Patriarchate promotes a prayer to ask for an end to the violence. Card. Pizzaballa: 'do not lose hope'.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Just over a month after the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, triggered by the terrorist attack on 7 October by the militiamen who control the Strip across the border, the gross domestic product (GDP) in the West Bank and Gaza it decreased by 4%, resulting in 400 thousand "new poor" in the area.

It is a "raw" and terrible picture that emerges from the United Nations report, in a reality that already presented critical elements in the past which progressively increased with the escalation of the conflict and the siege of the army with the Star of David to the Palestinian enclave.

More than two-thirds of Gaza's 2.3 million people have fled their homes since Israel launched intense air strikes, which have been ongoing for weeks, followed by an ongoing ground operation aimed at destroying Hamas.

Drafted by the UN Development Program and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, the study is the first to outline a rapid but comprehensive assessment of the economic consequences of the war in Gaza and the impact on the population.

If the conflict continues for a second month, the United Nations predicts that Palestinian GDP, which was .4 billion before the war began, will decline by 8.4 percent for a loss of .7 billion. dollars.

If the conflict lasts a third month, Palestinian gross domestic product will decline by 12 percent, with losses of .5 billion and more than 660,000 people pushed into poverty. With consequences not only in the Strip or in the Holy Land, but for the entire Middle Eastern region already marked by an economic crisis in various areas.

The deputy secretary general of the United Nations Development Programme, Abdallah Al Dardari, said that a 12% loss of GDP at the end of the year would be "massive and unprecedented".

By way of comparison, the Syrian economy was losing 1% of GDP per month at the height of the conflict and it took Ukraine a year and a half of fighting to lose 30% of GDP, averaging around 1.6% per month, further confirming how devastating the impact on Gaza is.

Yesterday, meanwhile, the Christians of Jerusalem took part in a moment of prayer for peace, organized by the Latin parish in collaboration with Sabeel and the Arab Catholic Scouts Center to underline how hope "still beats in the hearts of the faithful".

In particular, those who are hosted in the parish of the Holy Family in Gaza, and who participate in mass every day and pray - in community moments often relaunched on the internet - to ask for peace, while the deputy parish priest updates on the situation with short messages on social media .

The card. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, presided over the prayer and asked those present for a moment of silence to remember the victims. With the Latin primate there were several priests and bishops of different Christian confessions, as well as religious and lay people for a moment of unity and reflection in difficult times.

Fr. Ibrahim Faltas, of the Custody of the Holy Land, gave an opening speech, underlining the "courage" of the ecclesiastical leaders and of the entire community, invoking prayers and supplications, which were followed by hymns and songs presented by the children. After reading the evangelical passage of Jesus on the Mountain, the "Beatitudes", Card. Pizzaballa then reminded everyone that “we must not lose hope of peace! We must choose prayer over violence and destruction, because the last word is life." Finally, the cardinal expressed solidarity with those who have been affected in various ways throughout the Holy Land, as well as illustrating the efforts made to put an end to the war and reach a just and global solution.

(Photos taken from the website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

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