News / Middle East

Palestinians Blame Israel for Economic Slump

Setareh Sieg
Palestinians in the West Bank city of Ramallah are struggling to cope with an economic slowdown in the Palestinian territories, spurred by a decline in foreign aid. Many blame the Palestinian Authority and Israel for their troubles.  

Ramallah residents are used to adjusting to the pressures of the Israeli occupation, and the city has been lauded for its economic growth.

But as the region is squeezed economically, some on the West Bank are questioning their leaders in the Palestinian Authority, based in this city.

"I don’t expect any help from the Palestinian Authority. Maybe if a state is established, but as long as the PA lives on funding, it will never get better," said a Palestinian teenager.

"The PA treats the Israelis better than it treats us," said another.

These young men live in Ramallah's Amari refugee camp, home to 7,000 people whose families became refugees in the 1948 war that established Israel.

They are governed by the Palestinian Authority, which relies on foreign aid to meet its budget.  

As the global economy falters, that aid has dropped by half to less than a billion dollars annually.  The authority can't pay its workers on time.

The Omeir family supports three generations and two complete families in this small house.  Nour is their main support. She's a teacher on the Palestinian Authority's payroll and has not received her salary in months.

"The Palestinian Authority is not able to administer correctly," said Nour.

Her husband Nazir is a carpenter.  He has not worked for more than a year since few have the money to pay for his labor.  But he is pragmatic.  

"We need to be better neighbors with Israel. Then we can open the borders for trade," said Nazir.

But like most Ramallah residents, he believes Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank is making  peace nearly impossible.

"The Israelis have put in obstacles because they cannot agree to negotiate over refugees. Since the settlements, all negotiations are deadlocked. The settlements are the biggest obstacles to peace," he said.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat says only Palestinian independence will free the area from hardship.  

The Palestinian Authority plans to press the UN to upgrade Palestinian status to a non-member state.

"We're gonna get it.  We're gonna get it.  We have many nations that will stand tall with us," said Erekat.

But it's unclear how that would affect life on the West Bank.  Business there is disrupted daily by Israel's checkpoints and its restrictions on trade.  

Former Minister for the National Economy Mazen Sinokrot says unemployment, which stands at about 25 percent, is a major threat.  

"Many of our good Palestinians are so depressed because they cannot find jobs. We are in need to create not less than one million jobs in the upcoming eight years. So this is a huge responsibility and challenge for everyone, including the international community," said Sinokrot.

Poverty is growing. If things continue this way, these pre-schoolers will have no future in the West Bank. Almost half of families in West Bank refugee camps are classified as “food insecure” by the United Nations.

For families like the Omeirs, survival comes through barter and loans from friends. And they worry.

"I want things for my children, a promising future, good prospects, and all external sides are not helping," she said.

And that is likely to continue.  Israel is threatening retaliation, possibly cutting off tax moneys owed to the Palestinian Authority, if it actually does move for upgraded U.N. status. And that could make life much worse for Palestinians in the occupied territories.

You May Like

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Five-Nation Tour to Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of state will visit Egypt, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam to discuss security issues, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
November 27, 2012 12:25 PM
They are responsible for Economic Slump, destruction of the Palestinian Government, Killing of innocent Palestinians, and destruction of many places.
In Response

by: Anonymous
November 28, 2012 1:02 PM
Palestinian gov't isn't under control by Israel gov't. Each gov't have it's own territory country, why not blame Iran, Sudan and Syria. Who's offer all kinds of missiles and financial to Palestine? Israel? I am strongly support Israel action against the Palestinian terrorist.

by: Don from: USA
November 26, 2012 8:55 PM
Right. And in the USA, the Republicans blame Obama. The point is, its a global issue...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs