JERUSALEM (Jul. 8)
Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who have been working abroad are returning to the territories in greater numbers as overseas jobs become harder to find.
The Central Bureau of Statistics reported today that although more Palestinians leave the territories than return, the gap between those departing and the returnees has narrowed sharply. Last year, about 388,918 Palestinians came home compared to 392,659 who left the territories. This resulted in a net emigration of 3,741, the lowest since Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza in 1967.
In 1982 ,10,971 more Palestinians left than returned and in 1981 the population deficit amounted to 22,000.
Experts attribute the change to “the economic slowdown in the Gulf states and Jordan, the relatively stable situation in the territories and teh support rendered by the Palestine Liberation Organization to Palestinians, mainly in the form of housing and business loans.”