Area C ‘future of Palestinian economy’

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The World Bank on Thursday released an animation calling attention to the impact of Israel’s restrictions on Area C, which makes up the majority of the occupied West Bank.

The short animation says that if businesses and farms were permitted to develop on Area C land, it would add as much as 35 percent to the Palestinian gross domestic product.

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The video was released along with a new World Bank report detailing how the Palestinian private sector is effectively held hostage to instability and restrictions on movement.

The report, Investment Climate Assessment: Fragmentation and Uncertainty, blames Israel’s restrictions and the Mideast conflict for holding Palestinian enterprises back.

“An active private sector is much needed to fuel economic and social progress in the Palestinian territories already faced with declining income and increasing unemployment,” said Steen Jorgensen, World Bank country director for West Bank and Gaza.

“Allowing mobility and access to resources is crucial to building investor confidence and developing industry and high value-added service sectors that would support a prosperous Palestinian economy and protect against future violence.”