The World Bank plans to provide unemployed Gazans with millions of dollars in aid, Israel Hayom learned on Monday.
In late July, the World Bank announced that it would increase its yearly allocation to the Palestinians from $55 million to $90 million because of “challenges in the Gaza Strip that have left the territory on the verge of economic and social collapse,” reported the Bloomberg financial-news agency.
The latest World Bank initiative will funnel $17 million to Gaza as part of a project that aims to employ 4,400 Gazans ages 18 to 34, half of them women, in third-sector organizations focused on health care, education, and assistance for the elderly and the disabled.
The new project will also support the training of 750 young Palestinians in the fields of media and the Internet.
Controlled by the Islamist terrorist group Hamas, which ousted rival faction Fatah (the Palestinian Authority) in a military coup in 2007, the Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli maritime blockade, and its land crossings are subject to significant Israeli and Egyptian restrictions. Israel and Egypt both maintain the restrictions are necessary to prevent Hamas from smuggling weapons and terrorists into the Strip.
However, the blockade has left Gaza’s economy in a shambles. According to World Bank data, unemployment in Gaza is estimated at 48%, compared to 13% in the Fatah-controlled West Bank, and more than half of Gaza’s population, some 900,000 people, live in poverty, with about a third of them are unable to afford basic necessities such as clothing, food, and shelter.
“Economic instability and the lack of jobs prevent educated young people in Gaza from contributing to economic growth. In addition to a sharp drop in basic services, such as water and electricity, this is something that intensifies social tensions,” a World Bank spokeswoman said in a statement.
The 189-member international financial institution maintains 130 offices worldwide, and aims to reduce poverty and provide “a wide array of financial products and technical assistance, and help countries share and apply innovative knowledge and solutions to the challenges they face.”