Bethlehem, November 21, 2012 – A report released today by the Applied Research Institute (ARIJ) highlights the crippling costs of Israeli mobility restrictions within the West Bank, revealing how internal closure cost the Palestinian economy USD223 million in 2007 – equivalent to 6% of the GDP.
“Internal Closure and the West Bank Labor Market” draws on recently released figures calculating the cost of West Bank mobility restrictions at USD223 million per year. This staggering economic impact, combined with the human costs of such a regime and its dubious security utility, highlights how the measures involved in internal closure are counterintuitive, and fail to contribute to the realization of a sustainable peace.
“An understanding of the negative effects of closure on Palestinian labor market outcomes and livelihoods, as well as the questionable role this regime plays in ensuring security, serves to highlight the critical importance of bringing an end to internal closure, in order to allow Palestine a genuine opportunity to realize its current and future economic performance and potential.”
Israeli-imposed mobility restrictions such as checkpoints, roadblocks and earthmounds, have become the prevailing reality within the West bank. Not only do these restrictions separate the West Bank from Israel, but also restrictions within the West Bank separate one region of Palestine from the next. The severity of this closure has detrimentally affected economic performance and profitability, and significantly curtailed the employment prospects within the West Bank.
Furthermore, the internal nature of the mobility restrictions, which disproportionately and collectively punishes all Palestinians, their geographical placement at certain points of the territory but not others, and the lack of exigent security circumstances, all call into question the truthfulness behind claims that they serve a purely security function.
The findings of this report further confirm the consensus among international organizations such as the World Bank that “an economy cannot run effectively if there is significant uncertainty about the ability of workers to reach their jobs, of goods reaching their markets, and of entrepreneurs being present to manage their place of business.” In a time when the economic viability of Palestine has been identified as a crucial goal, the deleterious impact of mobility restrictions on economic performance highlights the pressing need for internal closure to be lifted.
“Removing internal closure would make enormous inroads in improving the current economic vulnerabilities faced by Palestinians,” states the report. “From a purely economic perspective, the consequences of mobility restrictions are chilling – raising transportation costs and associated expenses, increasing inefficiency, and infusing economic activity with an overwhelming sense of unpredictability.”
ARIJ is local organization in the Palestinian Territory with expertise in natural resource and water management, sustainable agriculture, the economic and social dynamics of Palestine, and the political dynamics of development in the area. The main aims of ARIJ are to institutionalize Green practices in Palestine through the development of sustainable applied sciences and reach human security through good governance and transparent economic management email.
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