Is there really an economic crisis in the West Bank? There is no small harm to the public sector where salaries have been cut. But most infrastructure projects are financed by foreign countries or organizations and the money is still coming in. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority has recently received bonuses, grants and loans from various countries, the largest being $300 million from Qatar.
Exports from the West Bank to Israel have grown. The shopping malls of Jenin, Tulkarem and Kalkilya are packed every weekend with tens of thousands of Israeli Arabs, while Arabs from eastern Jerusalem shop in Ramallah and Bethlehem. In addition, 130,000 Palestinian workers are employed in Israel. Their average salary is two and a half times the average salary in the PA and their number is rising constantly. New facilities at border checkpoints have shortened lines and waiting times at the crossings from hours to minutes.
The growth in construction in Jewish communities in the West Bank, after years in which new building was frozen, has also ironically provided more work for Palestinians. Bethlehem is filled with thousands of tourists, and recently two shopping malls were opened there with stores focused on the tourism market. (Globes)
The writer is a retired CIA operations officer with decades of experience undercover abroad.