Last Sunday the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) released a review of the economic and social situation for Palestinian graduates.
According to the press release, unemployment among Palestinian graduates aged between 15-29 and holding an intermediate diploma or higher, was 55.8 in 2017. In 2007 the number was at 41.5%.
The gendered divide is 37.8% for men and 72% for women. The labour of young women is concentrated in the service sector while men are mostly in trade, restaurant, and hotel industries.
Education and teaching graduates are the highest unemployed – at 69.6% – and the lowest unemployment were among law graduates – at 25.7%.
The unemployment among individuals within the same age group went from 30.5% to 41% between 2007 and 2017. Less than 1%of Palestinian youth are in decision-making positions.
The release came out to mark International Youth Day.Youth in Palestine makeup for almost a third of the Palestinian population.
The report did not distinguish the statistics between Gaza and West Bank Palestinian graduates.
However the noticeable increase in unemployment is due to the jump from 39.8% in 2007 to 61.2% in 2017 among individuals in the same age group in the Gaza Strip.
The increase of unemployment among youth in the West Bank went from 25.6% to 27.2% in the same time-period.
The Palestinian Authority Labour Minister Mamoun Abu Shahla said that Israel needs to allow [Palestinians] to have normal flow of goods to bring down the devastating unemployment rate among graduates.
Shahla added that Palestinian businesses often struggle to grow and employ new workers because they are unable to export their products and import needed raw materials.
As Israel restricts and regulates the import and export of goods to and out of Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinian businesses continuously suffer financially.
Israel claims that these restrictions are to prevent the transfer of weapons or weapon-construction materials to terrorist groups.
The limited movement of goods and services due to the blockade and its influence on employment levels continue to directly correlate with the increasing poverty rates of Palestinians.
The poverty rate of Palestinians between 15-29 was at 29.5% (13.5 in the West Bank while 56% in Gaza): within this demographic, 17.1% were living in extreme poverty (6.1% in the West Bank and 35.4% in Gaza).
Gaza’s employment has suffered a disproportionate amount from the Israeli siege. The Palestinian Businessmen Associationannounced that over 95% of Gaza factories have shut down.
Ali al-Hayek, the chairman of the Palestinian Businessmen Association, stated that about 75,000 people have lost their jobs because of the closure of the Karm Abu Salem crossing, and warned that Gaza’s economy is entering a dangerous phase due to the blockade.
The difficult economic situation in Palestine has forced some Palestinians to work in illegal settlements, in hopes for better financial security.
While in principle against settlements, the harsh reality and lack of opportunities has forced some young Palestinians to involuntarily facilitate the construction.
In 2010, the Civil Administration, Kav LaOved workers hotline and Palestinian labour unions recorded 20,000 Palestinian permit-holders employed in settlements, alongside an estimated 10,000 Palestinians without work-permits.
This is merely one example of how Israel generates dependency in Palestinians of Israel, which in the long run will facilitate social and political annexation of the land.
Source: Palestine Monitor