February 10,2020

October 17 of each year marks the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, in which various organizations compete to review poverty and reality of the poor, and display figures of unemployment, food insecurity and harsh living conditions at countries that suffer enormously from misery and deprivation around the world.

The International Platform of NGOs Working for Palestine (iPalestine) presents facts sheet about poverty, extreme poverty and unemployment in the Palestinian territories, as an effort to mobilize international community and its institutions to bear the legal and moral responsibilities toward a country that is suffering from a malicious occupation that impoverishes it.

With regard to Palestinian Civil Society Organizations either in or outside Palestine, iPalestine makes reviews on figures of poverty and unemployment rates, in order to unify efforts and have well-informed and clear strategies, in response to mitigate the severe humanitarian and living crisis that warns all local and international actors of its imminent occurrence.

Analyzing poverty and unemployment within the Palestinian society in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, there is a sharp relative variance in their rates. This situation is an obvious manifestation of the complex and difficult political, economic, social and living reality. The harsh contrast is not surprising as it is created and deepened by a set of accumulated factors.

According to the latest statistics announced by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 2018 survey results showed that the poverty rate among individuals in the Palestinian territories reached 29%, and Statistics for the second quarter of 2019, unemployment rate in the Palestinian territories exceeded 26%, having 351,500 unemployed, 22% of them are males and 44% are females.

West Bank cities recorded a rate of 14% of the total poverty rate, according to 2018 survey results for the first quarter, 6% of them were rated as extreme poverty. West Bank recorded unemployment rate of 15% of the total percentage of Palestinian territories, with a number of 132,200 unemployed, according to Statistics for the second quarter of 2019.

As for the cities of the Gaza Strip, the statistics were shocking pretty much, as the percentage of poverty and extreme poverty exceeded high levels by 65%, according to recent statements by the Palestinian Prime Minister "Muhammad Shtayyeh", and the Ministry of Social Development in the Gaza Strip which revealed that poverty rate has overrun nearly 75%, and 33.8% of this percentage is considered below the extreme poverty line.

As for the unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip, it has surpassed 47%, and even other governmental statistics said that the unemployment rate has actually exceeded 55%, with a number of 219,300 unemployed, according to Statistics for the second quarter of 2019.

Analyzing poverty and unemployment within the Palestinian society in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, there is a sharp relative variance in their rates. This situation is an obvious manifestation of the complex and difficult political, economic, social and living reality. The harsh contrast is not surprising as it is created and deepened by a set of accumulated factors.

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics indicates significant increase of about 14% in the indicators of general poverty rates in the cities of the Gaza Strip from 39 % in 2011 to reach 53% in 2017). However, the situation is opposite in the West Bank, the rate decreased by about 4% (from 18% in 2011 compared to 14% in 2017).

Given the sharp variation in poverty and unemployment rates in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, we need here to clarify a set of figures related to poverty and unemployment in the Gaza Strip, where 65.6% of poor families are refugees who were expelled from their homes and properties due to the occupation In 1948, 24.7% of the members of the poor families are children, 29.5% of poor families are headed by elderly, 56.5% of poor families are headed by persons who suffer from at least one chronic disease, 12.8% of poor families are headed by persons with disabilities, 66.2% of poor families are headed by persons who have an educational level of less than secondary.

With regard to the average monthly per capita spending, we notice the sharp variation in expenditures rates between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Average per capita expenditures in the West Bank increased from 188 Jordanian Dinars in 2011 to 220 Jordanian Dinars in 2017, which represents an increase of 17%, while in the Gaza Strip, average per capita expenditures decreased from 110 Jordanian Dinars in 2011 to 91 Jordanian Dinars in 2017, a decline of about 17%.

On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we affirm that the alarming figures of poverty in Palestine and the Gaza Strip in particular are among the highest rates in the world, and the exerted efforts by governmental, non-governmental, civil society and international organizations are predominantly relief and meet only the basic needs of about 50% of poor families, and in light of the rapid political and societal complications that stand in the way of any development efforts, and in contrary, it is heading towards de-development and is unfortunately heading for the worse.