UNCTAD said the fiscal cost of the Israeli occupation for the Palestinian people between 2000 and 2017 is estimated at 47.7 billion USD, three times the size of the Palestinian economy in 2017 and it continues to rise.
In a report entitled ‘Economic cost of the Israeli occupation for the Palestinian people: Fiscal aspects’, UNCTAD said the figure comprises lost public revenues and interest payments. It includes 28.2 billion USD in estimated accrued interest and 6.6 billion USD of leaked Palestinian fiscal revenues to Israel.
This estimated cumulative fiscal cost of occupation would not only have eliminated the Palestinian budget deficit estimated at 17.7 billion USD during the same period but would have also generated a surplus nearly twice the size of the deficit. Alternatively, it would have increased more than tenfold the Palestinian government’s development spending, pegged at 4.5 billion USD during the period under review.
Speaking to reporter in New York today (02 Dec), UNCTAD’s Coordinator of the Assistance to the Palestinian People, Mahmoud Elkhafif, said the report would be considered by the UN General Assembly (GA) tomorrow and was produced based on five consecutive GA resolutions asking for an assessment of the economic cost of the Israeli occupation.
He said the report focused only on the fiscal cost of occupation, meaning the amount of revenue lost by the Palestinian Government as a result of occupation.
“Whatever we have reported here does not include everything. In a sense, the economic cost, even the fiscal cost, of occupation is an evolving thing because we have difficulty in measuring all of the elements. So, what we are saying is that what we are reporting tomorrow to the GA (General Assembly) is not a final figure; it is an evolving thing. The more we have information, the more we have data, then we could calculate more costs.” said Mahmoud Elkhafif, Coordinator of the Assistance to the Palestinian People, UNCTAD