Measures Taken by Israel in Support of Developing the Palestinian Economy and Socio-Economic Structure
In 2010, the Palestinian economy continued to grow at a quick pace, with economic growth reaching 9.3%, due to a very quick recovery of the Gaza economy (15%), accompanied by continued growth of the West Bank economy (8% ). The PA's GDP in 2010 amounted to USD 5,728 million, and the GDP per capita increased by 6.1%, in comparison to the previous year. Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza contributed significantly to this growth. Increased Palestinian sales to Israel, a higher volume of commercial goods shipped from the West Bank via the land crossings to Israel and abroad, growing numbers of tourists visiting the West Bank, and increased construction, are all additional indications of the growth of the Palestinian economy.
Israel wishes to resume peace negotiations with the PA, with the aim of reaching a bilateral agreement for a two-state solution. Israel lent its support to efforts led by the international community to implement projects and build capacity and institutions in various fields.
Israel expanded its professional dialogue with the PA in a variety of areas, aiming to upgrade: Palestinian financial services, water and sewage infrastructure, the legal system and the rule of law, agriculture, and the electricity network, inter alia. These steps were accompanied by intensified security coordination between the authorities on both sides, seeking greater security and improved institutional capacity. Still, the terror attacks following the resumption of peace negotiations last September, the horrific terror attacks of the last few weeks in Itamar and Jerusalem, and the barrage of missiles now being launched against civilians in southern Israel, all serve as painful reminders of just how distant real security remains.
Last June, Israel eased its policy towards the Gaza Strip. The immediate implementation of the policy is reflected in economic growth of 15% in Gaza. It is clear that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza; there are established mechanisms, available to all, to ship both humanitarian aid and commercial goods into Gaza. Israel has approved 121 projects led by the international community, and the flow of all commercial and humanitarian goods continues. Israel has upgraded the infrastructure and capacity of Kerem Shalom crossing far beyond actual needs. More people are exiting Gaza for humanitarian or commercial reasons and exports have been increased. Israel wishes to implement additional measures, including agreements between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Quartet representative Tony Blair.
Israel is gravely concerned about the escalation in security threats from Gaza, and the increasing number of terrorist rocket and mortar shell attacks, targeting densely populated civilian areas within Israel. The recent interception of the vessel "Victoria" on March 15th, which was carrying tons of illegal arms and ammunition to Gaza, and the ongoing smuggling of weapons through the tunnels, signal proliferation efforts by Hamas, sponsored by Iran.
Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has been held in captivity in the Gaza Strip, for nearly five years, without the most basic rights. The International Community must undertake greater efforts to bring about his immediate and unconditional release.
This report provides information on Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza, and its implementation, in the following chapters:
Chapter One: Economic Growth in the West Bank: Israeli Measures
Chapter Two: Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation to Upgrade the Water and Sewage Infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza, and Infrastructure in Other Sectors
Chapter Three: Security
Chapter Four: Governmental Cooperation in the Civil Sector
Chapter Five: Implementation of Israel's Policy towards the Gaza Strip