News / Middle East

Gaza Depends Upon Tunnel Economy

A new report finds the ongoing Israeli blockade is increasing the Gaza Strip's dependence on the so-called tunnel economy for basic supplies and income.  But, the report by the International Labor Organization says the informal tunnel economy brings with it many hazards.  The report is under discussion at the ILO's annual assembly.  

The ILO report says there has been some improvement in the economic situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  But, it notes economic growth is unevenly distributed between Gaza and the West Bank.

Last year, it says Gaza's economy grew by only one percent compared to more than eight percent growth in the West Bank.  The report says the situation is somewhat improving in the West Bank because institutions governing law and order are still functioning.

Also, it says some of the barriers to freedom of movement and access have been removed.

On the other hand, the report says the three-year-old Israeli blockade of Gaza is crippling the territory's economy.  And this, says Special Representative of the ILO Director-General, Friedrich Buttler, is creating a booming tunnel economy.

"It goes along with informality and it goes along with very bad practices concerning occupational safety and health.  It goes along with child labor and, we have to say, with worst forms of child labor," Buttler said.  "And, one has to say that the de facto government of Gaza, the Hamas government does not take care of this, although they are profiting from this tunnel economy because they are regulating it and they are levying taxes on it," he added.  

Buttler says there are between 400 and 600 tunnels under the border between Egypt and Gaza.  He says around 20,000 people are related to the tunnel economy.

The ILO report says 75 percent of the population is food dependant and 70 percent of the population lives under the poverty line of $1 a day.

It says 80 percent of the factories have been damaged or destroyed.  It says they cannot be rebuilt because Israel does not allow cement to enter Gaza, fearing it might be used for military purposes.

The ILO's Regional Director for Arab States, Nada al-Nashif, says skills in Gaza have suffered enormously.  She says the ILO is trying to promote job creation.  

She says the ILO is paying particular attention to the needs of women and young people.

"A proportionately large youth population, which remains politically disenfranchised, economically marginalized and socially really quite isolated.  If you compound that with occupation, it really is a stick of dynamite," said al-Nashif.  We are trying to work with young people to create better opportunities, particularly young women where, I think, if you are young and a woman, then you are facing a double whammy in many cases," she said.  

Al-Nashif says the Palestinians of Gaza are not proud of the tunnel economy.  She says they are aware of the shortcomings.  And, she adds the returns are unequally divided among the people.

She says it is the poor who, once again, are losing out because they cannot afford to buy the goods coming into the territory.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More