Palestinians who work in settlements in the West Bank are paid twice as much as those who are employed by other Palestinians, according to figures released on Thursday by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

The figures showed that although the Palestinian Authority has banned Palestinians from working in settlements, 14.2 percent of employed Arabs from the West Bank worked in settlements in 2010, an increase by 1 percentage point from the previous year.

According to the Statistics Bureau, the nominal daily median net wage of Palestinians who worked in the West Bank was NIS 76.9 in 2010, while those who were employed in settlements received NIS 150 per day.

The bureau’s Labor Force Survey showed that the Palestinian unemployment rate in the West Bank last year stood at more than 17%, while in the Gaza Strip it reached almost 38%.

The highest unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip was in Khan Yunis (44.7%), followed by Deir el-Balah (39%) and Rafah (36.4%).

In the West Bank, the study showed, the highest unemployment rate was registered in Tulkarm (22.3%), followed by Hebron (21.4%) and Bethlehem (21.2%).

According to the survey, 38% of employed Palestinians work in services, while 19% work in commerce, hotels and restaurants. The main field of employment for females was the services sector (61%). About 21% of Palestinian women have found jobs in the agricultural sector in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the study said.

Earlier this month, the bureau found that poverty in the Palestinian territories was less prevalent than previously believed. Slightly more than one out of four people lived below the poverty line last year.

The poverty line for the reference household (two adults and three children) was set at NIS 2,237 per month.

Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, welcomed reports of an increase in Palestinians workers in the settlements.

“It is a positive thing both for Israelis and for the Palestinians,” he said.

“I think the reality of fruitful coexistence that [PA Prime Minister] Salam Fayyad tried to undermine is stronger than his boycott plan,” Dayan said. “The only way to promote peaceful coexistence is through cooperative endeavors.”

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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