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Palestinian boys attend Friday prayers as they sit at the remains of a house that witnesses said was destroyed by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer, in the Shejaia neighbourhood east of Gaza City January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Gaza’s Economy Continues to Deteriorate

The Levant News – By Jasmin Rasheed — Palestinian sources spoke out against the Gaza Strip leadership for focusing on internal politics and ignoring the deteriorating economy.

The sources state that senior Hamas officials are engrossed in the internal elections, and Ismail Haniyeh, deputy head of Hamas’s Political Bureau, has been abroad for over two months, preparing for the elections to the Political Bureau.

Fatah is preoccupied with the tension between President Abbas’s and Mohammed Dahlan’s supporters, as well as Fatah’s 7th General Conference.

Meanwhile, up-to-date information from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics indicates a deterioration in the macroeconomic environment in the Gaza Strip.

Unemployment has spiked in the third quarter of the year, reaching 43.2%. The most worrying statistics are those of unemployment among the youth (aged 15-29), which is now higher than 60%, and among educated Gazans (13 or more years of education), 43.3% of whom are unemployed.

Palestinian sources add that the situation of Gaza Strip residents has been deteriorating, and the negative impact of the climbing unemployment rate and lack of jobs is evident. Furthermore, the tough stance of the Hamas government puts further pressure on Gazans, which leads to a rise in crime, drug use, and suicides.

The Palestinian sources concluded that the Gaza Strip leadership, and particularly Ismail Haniyeh, should focus on accelerating the Gaza Strip reconstruction process and improving the socioeconomic situation of the local residents.

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