Palestinian GDP drops over $1 billion in past year

October 28, 2006 13:32

The gross domestic product (GDP) of the West Bank and Gaza Strip dropped from $4.04 (€3.2) billion to $2.9 (€2.3) billion in the past year, a decline of 28 percent, a senior Palestinian official said Saturday. Investments dropped by 60 percent, from $1 billion to $400 million, in the same period, said Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator with Israel. Erekat cited the international aid freeze, imposed after the ascension of the Islamic organization Hamas to power, and Israeli security closures for the economic decline. Hamas won parliament elections in January and assumed power in March. Erekat is an aide to moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was elected separately in 2005. Erekat said that if the economic decline continues, the Palestinian areas face "total collapse."

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