Beirut, 22 July 2021--The United Nations reiterated in its periodic report that it is quasi impossible to achieve sustainable development in the occupied Palestinian territory amid the ongoing Israeli occupation and its policies and practices. The report, which covers the period from April 2020 to March 2021, underscored the need to put an end to the measures standing in the way of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic and the provision of additional support to Palestinians; it also warned against further anticipated deterioration owing to the pandemic in addition to the fact that more than half of the Palestinians living under the occupation needed humanitarian aid and protection even prior to the pandemic.
According to the report, various Israeli policies and actions taking place in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including the blockade of Gaza, the killing of demonstrators and settlement activity, are in violation of the international law. Some of these practices may include discrimination, collective punishment, forcible transfer, and the excessive and unlawful use of force. House demolition and resident eviction practices have soared throughout 2020 and the early months of 2021 compared to previous years, coupled with unfair expropriation of Palestinian-owned properties in East Jerusalem.
The report also focused on the Israeli policies that divided the West Bank into nearly 100 cantons and separated it from East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, resulting in the development of distinct Palestinian economies and the deterioration of the Palestinians' economic and social situations. In fact, with a 11.5% contraction in 2020, the Palestinian economy recorded its worst recession since 2002. From this perspective, Gaza bears the largest burden, suffering from regression in development and the collapse of economic sectors, as unemployment rate reached 47% while three-quarters of the population suffers from food insecurity.
The report also reiterated the illegality of Israel's annexation of the occupied Syrian Golan and Israel's violations of the rights of and discrimination against Syrian citizens. It concluded that adherence to international law and the lack of impunity are prerequisites to achieve peace and for all peoples of the region.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) annually prepares the Secretary-General’s report on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan.
Tarik Alami, Leader of the Governance and Conflict Prevention Cluster at ESCWA, presented the report to the Economic and Social Council on 21 July 2021. Accordingly, representatives of the Council’s member Governments as well as representatives of Palestine and Syria discussed the report and proposed a draft resolution on it. The report will also be presented to the United Nations General Assembly during its next session for further consideration.
One of five United Nations regional commissions, ESCWA supports inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in Arab States and works on enhancing regional integration.
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