Inside the Middle East
September 17, 2010
Posted: 420 GMT

Gaza Market (Fred Pleitgen/CNN)

Tired of hearing bad news from the Palestinian territories?

If so consider this: in the first quarter of 2010 the economy of the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip grew at an astonishing 11.5% compared to the same quarter the year before.

Broken down, real GDP growth in the Gaza Strip stood at a whopping 15% while the West Bank enjoyed a slightly more modest 10% increase.

These are just some of the pretty impressive sounding numbers contained in a new World Bank report on the Palestinian economy being released next week for a donor’s conference in New York.

In addition to signs of continued economic growth, fewer Israeli restrictions, and increased investor confidence the study, in part, credits the reform measures taken by the Palestinian Authority for the seemingly rosy economic news.

“These include increased efficiency of the social safety net system that is now one of the most advanced in the region, improved fiscal standing through greater revenue collections and a decrease in recurrent expenditures and an improved security situation in the West Bank” said World Bank vice-president Shamshad Akhtar.

But before you break open the champagne let’s briefly consider the bad news.The Palestinian economy is nowhere near being ready to stand on its own two feet.

The vast majority of that impressive growth, says the World Bank, has been driven by financial aid from donor countries and while there has been a slight increase in the amount of private investment the report indicates that it “remains well below what is needed to replace donor aid as the main source of growth”

To get the Palestinian territories off the life support system of donor aid, the reports says, will require the Israeli government to lift many more of the economic and security restrictions it now keeps in place including allowing exports out of Gaza, permitting Palestinian access to more of their land and water in the West Bank, and allowing for a greater and freer flow of raw materials into both territories.

Unless these and other measures are taken in addition to continued Palestinian reforms the World Bank report concludes, “The Palestinian Authority will remain donor dependent and its institutions, no matter how robust, will not be able to underpin a viable state.”

These are pretty sobering words that underscore the caution needed in reading too much into the economic good news from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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Filed under: Economic crisis •Gaza •Israel •Palestinians •West Bank

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John A   September 17th, 2010 8:48 am ET

CNN you continually demonstrate the understanding of a mentally challenged organization.

Gaza GDP increase 11%. WOW is that an increase from ten grains of rice to 11 grains of rice????

Intentionally you use percentages without stating what those percentages really represent.

Large percentage increases can only be found in poor countries.

If you have 1 dollar and then increase this to 2 dollars, you gain 100%.

If you have 1000 dollars and increase this by 1 dollar, you gain 0.1%

So your report unwittingly demonstrates how poor Gaza is, while being bombed by Israel and caged in with Israels totally illegal siege.

CNN's campaign to dumb down America continues, but this wont stop CNN politically established contacts from having their @sses whipped in the mid term elections.

miriam   September 17th, 2010 9:27 am ET

And for Israel to do that it requires the PA to cease their on-going incitement against Israel and Jews and to continue their effort in reining in terrorists, not just Hamas (really part of an internal political dispute) but also those affiliated with the PA itself.

As for Gaza, if it continues to be ruled by a regime that does not recognize the state the World Bank wants it to trade with and continues firing rockets at civilian population centres, that will be the reason for any potential lack of progress.

The Palestinian territories have been donor dependent ever since they were under Jordanian/Egyptian control and then under Israeli control and under no restrictions. Although non-donor-dependent fiancial institutions are essential for a viable state, there are other factors also essential for the development of a viable state that have to be addressed and not ignored/dismissed/denied.

sqwest   September 17th, 2010 4:18 pm ET


And for the PA to do that, it requires that Israel cease their illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, and construction of illegal settlements, and assassination of Palestinians, some of whom are from Hamas, but many of whom are innocent women and children.

Israel itself is donor gets about 3 billion dollars in US militiary aid ever year, which dwarfs any aid given to the Palestinians. So the question is, when will Israel be able to stand on it's own two feet?

jon   September 17th, 2010 6:17 pm ET

No more donors help until Palestinians stop all terrorist activities

Sam   September 17th, 2010 9:02 pm ET

how can any nations economy grow if they are besieged???

Lawrence   September 18th, 2010 6:52 am ET

What Palestinian land? That is a myth. They never bought the land. It was stolen from the Jews. These so-called Palestinians are by-in-large new immigrants who came to Israel during WWI.

You cannot just claim a plot of land as your own, you need to buy it. And the person selling it to you needs to own it first to sell it to you.

Sasha   September 18th, 2010 8:29 am ET

Nothing new here , they can't have prosperity untill they have peace and they can't have peace untill they recognize Israel, stop the incitement against Jews and Israel, stop violance and take responsibility for their actions.

Joseph   September 18th, 2010 8:40 am ET

The only Occupied land and people in the world overseed by America their arms and money!!

clintonius   September 18th, 2010 8:49 am ET

Maybe the bad news could be that they are illegally occupied by Israel. Or that their homes are being demolished to make room for illegal Israeli settlements.

Tomer Ariav   September 18th, 2010 9:45 am ET

Kindly pinpoint that this is happening as the terrorist activities cooled down. As soon as money is being invested in the infrastructure and not for terrorist attacks, a shade of proper government is established, corruption reduced then you have development.

Mary   September 18th, 2010 9:50 am ET

Miriam@ and how many palestinians got killed. Dont make it its only one side. Both sides are at fault cause one side needs to stop with the fighting to show they are wanting peace.. if the palestinians where the only ones attacking and the israelis all innoccent and did nothing. Your population would be at least half by now. IT ITS ONE SIDE TO STAND UP AND SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND STOP but both sides are to proud to do so.

Anthony WALKER   September 18th, 2010 10:36 am ET

For goodness sake! All sides need to put their mouths and pens on hold and contemplate what type of a future are they leaving for their Children and their Children's Children – just certain Death and Bloodshed at the moment! You cannot retrieve the past – what has been done has been done. All sides have done the vilest of things to their neighbours, Sons, Daughters, Fathers, Mothers, and so on. There will be no winners and no one will come up shining in glory. All of you involved, sit down and talk, make compromises, split differences, live together in peace and harmony – if the rest of the World can do so, so can you. There are no other acceptable excuses as there will be no Victors except those who think of the future of their off-spring and Friends and Neighbours! All need to act like sane responsible men and women. There will be no Winners unless you sit down and talk and sort your problems out

Real Earth   September 18th, 2010 2:48 pm ET

Those poor starving palestinians.

Nguyen D   September 18th, 2010 4:13 pm ET

Perhaps the Palestinians would take responsibility on their actions and initiate progress by recognizing the ligitamacy and the existance of the state of Israel. Instead of threatening Israel constantly, rocketing its civil population and then crying foul when Israel retaliates, the Palestinians should seek a realistic compromise, that will allow security and growth to both sides.

Jon   September 19th, 2010 2:59 am ET

Besieged.. occupied.. stolen land.. do you people even know the history of this region? Are you from planet earth? Have you ever read a proper history book?

The "Palestinian" propaganda machine seems to be alive and kicking. And to think that this is what leftist professors teach kids in the States and in Europe is downright scary...

***^^^***   September 19th, 2010 4:52 am ET

Nice to see something besides blown up buildings, tanks, and kids throwing rocks at tanks though. I see a bicycle. A woman has glasses on. Some dishes that look like people could eat/drink out of them...stainless pan...can't tell if they are drinking out of plastics. People look stressed. Good that they can go to the market, but they look stressed. It looks like it might be a nice building.

jenog   September 19th, 2010 5:17 am ET

To clintonius and other simular minded
We can speak illegally occupied land by arabs only. Palestina first was given by the Romans to people who lived in ancient Judea and Israel. Palestinians is a myth to apply on arabs whom refused to wear for long time. They started to accept it only in the 1970s when they recognised it was beneficial for them. Anyway the whole area of today's Israel and westbank and even east of the Jordan river was given by God to his choosen people the JEWS ONLY. So it is time for arabs to leave it . In1948 the joung Jewish government offered the arabs to live together in peace. Their answer was attack, war, threat to kill every jew and They encouraged arab population to leave the area so they can kill jews easier.

Veteran   September 19th, 2010 7:18 am ET

Zionism is a 20th Century evil like the other -isms – it is nationalistic and based on race with a presumed superiority over others. Aside from the Israelis posters and diaspora on this Board, I doubt that anyone has even been to the Middle East. The reality is that Israelis for the most part are of European origin and had no connection to the region until 1948 when the Arabs were majority population. This might be an inconvienient fact – but its the truth. The other unfortunate reality is that the Zionism and the Diaspora work together to ensure that the Israel point of view is the only one that reaches Western audiences. Question – In the 21st Century how is it that a raced based state gets a pass from Western democracies and at their taxpayer expense? For sure the response will be to label this post Anti-Semitic but then aren't the Arabs Semites too?

Veteran   September 19th, 2010 7:26 am ET

Further – the name calling is disingenuous. And one shouldnt throw stones when he or she lives in a glass house too. For Israelis and the diaspora to label the Palestinians or Arabs as illegitimate terrorists is very inconsistent when their own past is reviewed. The founders of the modern state of Israel were drawn from the outlawed Irgun and Hagannah terrorist organizations which actively targeted the British authority in Palestine to include assasinations, car bombs and provocations. They even blew up the King David hotel which housed British Army Officers who had only a few years ago been the same army liberating German death camps. Its clear that there is no difference – the Israel "tribe" like the other Semitic tribes is playing a zero sum game – which means that any point of view will never be balanced and may be in fact contrary to Western principle of democracy and human rights.

Rob   September 19th, 2010 8:15 am ET

How about the rest of the western world to pay for the land they occupied, the land they never bought : US,Canada, South America,S.Africa, Australia, NZ and thousand other islands and territories.

Think before you talk dumbo.

irfan   September 19th, 2010 9:07 am ET

wow, looks like still many people in this world do not know the difference between a terrorist & freedom fighter!! fighting to be free from jewish occupancy who took away their lands, homes, money, everything, are termed as terrorists and those who digested billions of dollars in the name of recession/bankruptcy/failures/bailouts are called as executives!! great understanding, i pity such people

Zak   September 19th, 2010 11:40 am ET

Putting Gaza within the same basket as the West Bank is dishonest.
These are by and large as separate entities as syria and lebanon.

And saying a further growth depends on Israeli lifting roadblocks is ignoring the fact that as of yet Palestinians have little to export.
Saudi Arabia exports oil
Israel – technology
but palestine so far has nothing much to show up for.

sagacious45   September 19th, 2010 1:38 pm ET

Poor are poor because of the exploitation of richer.

Capitalism is more horrendous than religious fanaticism.

Gazu   September 19th, 2010 4:10 pm ET

Palestinians and Jews are ethnically the same people

sqwest   September 19th, 2010 11:51 pm ET

@jenog and other extremists

"Palestina first was given by the Romans to people who lived in ancient Judea and Israel"
Exactly. People who had been living there, including even before the Jews came. I seem to remember from the Torah that before the Jews there were a whole load of other people living there, and God commanded a war of genocide upon them. But those that survived historically lived alongside the Jews. And later, when the Romans exiled a large proportion of the Jews, those people stayed, as well as a whole load of Jews who didn't go into exile. And they mixed with the Byzantines, and some converted to Christianity. Later came the Arabs, and they mixed with the people there. And some of the people, including some of the Jews, converted to Islam. So you had Muslims, Christians and Jews all living there. And then you had the crusaders, who slaughtered the Muslims and Jews together in Jerusalem, the Muslim reconquest, the Turks...

But in the end, the people who were living in Palestine were descendents of many different races, including Jews who stayed and converted, and including people who were there even before the Jews. There are even Palestinian Jews who live in Nablus: the Samaritans, who have been there continuously all these thousands of years. The Jews were not the first people to occupy that land, nor will they be the last. The fact of the matter is, when they came, they stole land from those people with violence, murder and rape.

Interview with Benny Morris:

"According to your new findings, how many cases of Israeli rape were there in 1948?

"About a dozen. In Acre four soldiers raped a girl and murdered her and her father. In Jaffa, soldiers of the Kiryati Brigade raped one girl and tried to rape several more. At Hunin, which is in the Galilee, two girls were raped and then murdered. There were one or two cases of rape at Tantura, south of Haifa. There was one case of rape at Qula, in the center of the country. At the village of Abu Shusha, near Kibbutz Gezer [in the Ramle area] there were four female prisoners, one of whom was raped a number of times. And there were other cases. Usually more than one soldier was involved. Usually there were one or two Palestinian girls. In a large proportion of the cases the event ended with murder. Because neither the victims nor the rapists liked to report these events, we have to assume that the dozen cases of rape that were reported, which I found, are not the whole story. They are just the tip of the iceberg."

According to your findings, how many acts of Israeli massacre were perpetrated in 1948?

"Twenty-four. In some cases four or five people were executed, in others the numbers were 70, 80, 100. There was also a great deal of arbitrary killing. Two old men are spotted walking in a field – they are shot. A woman is found in an abandoned village – she is shot. There are cases such as the village of Dawayima [in the Hebron region], in which a column entered the village with all guns blazing and killed anything that moved.

"The worst cases were Saliha (70-80 killed), Deir Yassin (100-110), Lod (250), Dawayima (hundreds) and perhaps Abu Shusha (70). There is no unequivocal proof of a large-scale massacre at Tantura, but war crimes were perpetrated there. At Jaffa there was a massacre about which nothing had been known until now. The same at Arab al Muwassi, in the north. About half of the acts of massacre were part of Operation Hiram [in the north, in October 1948]: at Safsaf, Saliha, Jish, Eilaboun, Arab al Muwasi, Deir al Asad, Majdal Krum, Sasa. In Operation Hiram there was a unusually high concentration of executions of people against a wall or next to a well in an orderly fashion.

"That can't be chance. It's a pattern. Apparently, various officers who took part in the operation understood that the expulsion order they received permitted them to do these deeds in order to encourage the population to take to the roads. The fact is that no one was punished for these acts of murder. Ben-Gurion silenced the matter. He covered up for the officers who did the massacres."

Filipe   September 20th, 2010 11:13 am ET

John A,

The financial report was issued by the World Bank-not CNN.

So if you have an issue with the data-–you whine, cry and complain the World Bank- not CNN.

But everyone who reads your blogs realizes that's all your capable of-not matter what the situation--whinning, crying and complaning.

Get a life- grow up-- embrace good news for a change!!

Shaya   September 21st, 2010 10:37 am ET

Really, if any of you have the fortune of traveling to Israel, and getting to tour the west bank, you will find many wealthy people. Perhaps more than you ever expected there would be. There are skyscraper condos, limousines, and fine cuisine in Ramallah.

News media has a penchant for showing the refugee camps, which shouldn't even be there in the first place. If not for a vested interest on behalf of the PA officials to have refugees (and their descendants) as a bargaining chip in the peace talks, there would be no refugees. Israel had far more refugees than the Palestinians, and ten years later, they were all settled. It is a shame to humanity that UNRWA has to feed these people.

John A   September 21st, 2010 11:36 am ET

Anyone who's modern day political outlook is expressed by first referring to the Romans and Judea must be living in a sad time warp. The only alternative is you simply have no idea how to justify Israels many crimes against humanity.

Wilson   September 22nd, 2010 8:37 am ET

I have been there and its nothing like your fantasy dream.
I guess you must be a pro Israeli Jew living in Brooklyn and without a real clue concerning facts on the ground.
How far have you travelled? Ever make it to the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge?

CNN why don't you have an age verification facility for this blog, as it seems many toddlers are uploading here.

miriam   September 29th, 2010 1:06 pm ET


You must have been dreaming on your visit then.
Or perhaps intoxicated by all the propaganda you were being fed.

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