The World Bank has provided US$12m in grants to Palestine to help offset the effects of the economic crisis caused by the Israeli blockade. The World Bank director for Palestine, Joseph Saba, described the action as “highly unusual” because the bank usually provides loans rather than grants. “However, the severe economic shock affecting the Palestinian economy calls for a rapid response that should not impose further burdens on the Palestinian Authority,” Saba said.
Unemployment is running at 40 per cent and poverty rates were projected to reach 32 per cent by the end of 2000.
Commentators have questioned why other countries facing high rates of unemployment and under-employment and poverty should not also receive grants to prevent “further burdens”.