Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Blockade Triples Palestinian Unemployment to 40%

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Blockade Triples Palestinian Unemployment to 40%

Article excerpt

JERUSALEM -- Israel's blockade of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has tripled Palestinian unemployment to 40 percent and wiped out the tentative economic gains of the past three years, the United Nations said in a report yesterday.

The Palestinians warned that the travel ban will fuel more resentment against Israel, but Israel said it has to keep out Islamic militants plotting terror attacks.

Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip have not been allowed to enter Israel since Israeli-Palestinian fighting began Sept. 28. As a result, about 120,000 Palestinian laborers have been kept away from their jobs.

Two weeks ago, the restrictions were tightened further in response to a bus bombing by Islamic militants that killed two Israelis and wounded nine, including five children, in the Gaza Strip. Since then, Israeli troops have been blockading Palestinian communities and barring residents from leaving.

Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat said his hometown, the resort of Jericho, had full employment before the violence erupted, with 3,000 Palestinians coming from other towns to work in restaurants, hotels and factories. …

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