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World Bank: Israeli restrictions threatening Palestinian economy

 (JTA) — A World Bank report on the Palestinian economy highlighted a lack of infrastructure, due to Israeli strictures, as a threat to the Palestinian economy. 

In its Economic Monitoring Report on the Palestinian Economy for 2012 released Tuesday, the World Bank pointed to the precarious economic structures in Palestinian society as a threat to the long-term viability of the Palestinian economy.

The report was released a week before a meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, a gathering of donors to the Palestinian Authority in Brussels on March 19. The paper documents the downturn of the economy and assesses the threats to the future stability of the Palestinian economy.

According to the report, "While urgent attention to the short-term financing shortfalls is essential, it is important to recognize that the continued existence of a system of closures and restrictions," such as the recent withholding by Israel of tax monies collected for the PA, as "creating lasting damage to economic competitiveness in the Palestinian Territories." 

Citing indications of a low GDP including high levels of unemployment, and dismally low levels of manufacturing and exports, the report acknowledges the importance of aid but sees long-term remedy in the fostering of the private sector and healthy infrastructures.

While citing mostly economic considerations, the report contends, "The longer the current, restrictive situation persists, the more costly and time-consuming it will be to restore the productive capacity of the Palestinian economy." 

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