Top 10 Poverty in Palestine
Palestine, a country consisting of Gaza and the West Bank, faces ongoing conflict with Israel, political instability and resource insecurity. While the historical and political situation in Palestine is complex and difficult to explain, here are the top 10 facts about poverty in Palestine in order to provide a clearer picture of the country’s situation.

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Palestine

  1. Poverty is widespread and severe in Palestine. The Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics found that 29.2% of Palestinian individuals lived in poverty in 2017 and 16.8% of Palestinians were living in deep poverty. Individuals that live below the poverty line are unable to acquire the necessities of food, clothing and shelter.
  2. Poverty is particularly acute in Gaza and Palestine’s refugee camps. While the 13.9% poverty rate in West Bank is alarming, more than half of the individuals in Gaza and 45.4% of individuals in refugee camps live in poverty. Additionally, 33.8% of Gazans and 29.3% of those in Palestinian refugee camps live below the deep poverty line. More than 1.5 million individuals, displaced due to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, 1967 Six-Day War and Israeli occupation, live in Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
  3. Poverty in Palestine is on the rise. Palestine’s poverty level increased by 13.2% from 2011 to 2017. In the next two years, the World Bank has predicted a decline in real per capita income and an increase in unemployment, given that the current scenario of Israeli restrictions and the internal divide between the West Bank and Gaza persists.
  4. Unemployment is alarmingly high. Unemployment in Palestine reached 27% in 2017, with unemployment in West Bank at 18% and Gaza at 44%. In fact, Gaza had the third-highest unemployment rate in the world in 2017. The actual rate of unemployment in the West Bank and Gaza is higher than reported as these rates do not account for those who have dropped out of the labor market. Israeli settlements and import restrictions led to increased unemployment by damaging the Palestinian economy through increased production costs and decreased land and resources available for production.
  5. Foreign aid has played a large role in reducing poverty in Palestine. According to the Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics, public aid has reduced the poverty percentage by 11.5%, with deep poverty reduced by 20%. International aid, with the U.S. and U.K. as leading donors, is critical for the Palestinian economy. The West Bank’s economy is fully dependent on aid and 80% of Gazans rely on humanitarian aid for survival.
  6. Just under a quarter of all Palestinians are food insecure. Many Palestinians lack the resources to put substantial meals on the table. Food insecurity poses a threat with 32.7% of Palestinians or 1.5 million people that are food insecure. In Gaza, this figure jumps to 68.5%.
  7. Water quality is low, particularly in Gaza. Water experts have agreed that 97% of the water in Gaza is polluted. Dangerous diseases such as diarrhea which now affects 80% of children under the age of 3 have become more widespread as a result.
  8. Some Israeli policies hinder Palestine’s economic growth. A 12-year blockade of the Gaza strip, a separation wall in the West Bank and time-consuming checkpoints are all Israeli policies that harm Palestine’s economy. Israeli land restrictions in the West Bank lower Palestine’s GDP by $3.4 billion a year, or 35% of Palestine’s economy, by restricting Palestinian access to agricultural and resource-rich land.
  9. Gaza is currently facing an electricity crisis. The 2 million Palestinian residents of Gaza receive electricity for no more than eight hours each day. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, for the past decade, Gaza has suffered from a chronic electricity deficit or a situation where the demand for electricity far exceeds the supply. The shortage of electricity has decreased the availability of water, sanitation and health services, along with undermining Gaza’s fragile economy, particularly the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
  10. Many organizations are working persistently to alleviate poverty in Palestine. One of those organizations is the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which gives support to the most vulnerable communities through sustainable economic empowerment approaches that decrease dependency on aid. An example of a UNDP project is the Deprived Families Economic Empowerment Programme, a project that aims to graduate impoverished families from being recipients of humanitarian assistance to being economically self-sufficient by providing services specific to their needs. The financial services provided through this program generated 23,000 paid and sustainable jobs and 9,560 family-owned enterprises. The Boycott Divest Sanction (BDS) movement also intends to improve the lives of Palestinians by applying economic and political pressure on Israel to end its occupation of Palestine.

Looking Ahead

These top 10 facts about poverty in Palestine are just snippets of the complex picture of political, historical and economic factors that influence the Palestinian standard of living. There is no magic bullet solution to poverty in any country, but a combination of international support and political collaboration has the potential to greatly improve the lives of many Palestinians.

– Carolina Sherwood Bigelow
Photo: Pixabay

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Palestine
Due to the ongoing conflict in the region, poverty in Palestine has been a notable topic. Below are 10 facts about poverty in Palestine that describe the statistics of the issue, yet portray hope for the future.

Facts About Poverty in Palestine

  1. Statistics show how poverty in Palestine is rampant. Approximately 26 percent of individuals fall into the poverty rate of having an average monthly household consumption of 985.8 Jordanian Dinar, which is equivalent to approximately $1,389.44 USD. The deep poverty rate is 13 percent. Lastly, the real GDP growth rate is zero percent.
  2. Palestine’s history lends itself to high unemployment rates. The 2016 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics report shows that only 32.5 percent of Palestinians were working full time. Since 2013, the unemployment rate has steadily increased from 23 percent to approximately 27 percent. The highest unemployment rate is between the ages of 14 to 24, with 41.7 unemployment rate.
  3. Education does not extend much past the preparatory phase as about 38 percent of Palestinians receive this education. This is the average education for Palestinians. Only 13 percent achieve a Bachelor’s degree and on the other end of the spectrum, approximately three percent are illiterate. Following this pattern, as Palestinian children age, the educational attendance rate drops significantly. From 6 to 11 years of age, 98.4 percent attended school, while of those who are 18 years of age and older, only 11.4 percent attend education. Overall, about 40 percent of young Palestinians are attending schools.

The Role of Oxfam International in Palestine

  1. According to Oxfam International, 80 percent of the Palestinian population relies on humanitarian aid to survive. Many people living in the occupied territories have little access to basic services. Millions are denied the right to free movement to access their basic needs. These issues lead to the extreme poverty in Palestine.
  2. Since 1950, Oxfam International has been working in the occupied territories partnering with approximately 60 organizations to help the most vulnerable communities of Gaza, East Jerusalem, and Area C, “the 61 percent of the West Bank where the government of Israel maintains full military and civil control.”
  3. In these communities, Oxfam International helps citizens in a variety of sectors improve their quality of life and to reduce the poverty in Palestine. This organization advocates for land rights and rights of women and other marginalized groups. Oxfam also helps improve the quality of farms and help women start businesses. Overall, they “campaign for lasting peace, security for all civilians, respect for international law and an end to the blockade.”

Sustainable Development Goals Affected by Poverty

  1. In Palestine, 1.3 million do not have access to, or cannot afford, nutritious food. This is approximately 22.5 percent of the population. Food insecurity affects families headed by women more, accounting for approximately 36 percent of families, as opposed to the 21 percent of families headed by men that are food insecure. These statistics are even higher in the Gaza Strip, where 39 percent of families are food insecure.
  2. In 2015, the United Nations created the Sustainable Development Goals, which include Zero Hunger, food security, and improved nutrition. With the ongoing conflict, economic stagnation, restricted trade and access to resources, high unemployment and high poverty rates, Palestine faces difficulties reaching these goals.
  3. In 1991, the World Food Programme started assisting communities with high prevalence of food insecurity. Food insecurity is increased with the constant conflict, restricted movement, and reduced access to land. This organization is helping Palestine reach the Zero Hunger sustainable development goal.
  4. Other Sustainable Development Goals affected by the restricted movement and armed conflict include good health and well-being, quality education, and reduced inequalities, among others. These goals show how interconnected conflict, poor education and other injustices are to poverty.

These facts about poverty in Palestine demonstrate how help is available, but more programs led by organizations like Oxfam and the World Food Program are necessary to expedite Palestine’s ability to reach the Sustainable Development Goal of no poverty.

– Jenna Walmer

Photo: Flickr

poverty in JerusalemThe period between 2014 and 2016 proved to be an especially difficult time for the people of Jerusalem. It was reported that in 2014, 82 percent of East Jerusalem lived in poverty, while in 2016, about four out of five East Jerusalemites were living in a vulnerable situation.  

How Did Poverty in Jerusalem Reach Its Present Levels?

According to the Jerusalem Post and Naomi Hausman, poverty in Jerusalem increased due to the unique disparities in its population. 61 percent of its people are Jewish (30 percent of whom are ultra-Orthodox), 36 percent are Arab and the remaining 3 percent are Christian-Arab or another minority. Hausman states that different educational standards and work ethics between groups have caused a social and economic divide, while both groups are willing to work for a lower rate. However, there are a few ways to help combat poverty in Jerusalem to create a safer environment for its people.

Tsidkat-Elaou Organization

The Tsidkat-Elaou Organization is a sanctuary that provides resources for those in Jerusalem experiencing and living in hardship. Tsidkat-Elaou has been fighting poverty in Jerusalem by taking donations to providing necessities for children, such as school supplies, food and clothes, provides financial aid vouchers, organizes altruistic events and contributes goods for Shabbat and other Jewish celebrations such as Passover and Rosh Hashanah. Tsidkat-Elaou also provides a safe space for those who would like to study or worship through building their synagogue, Ohr Yaacov Velsraёl. Tsidkat-Elaou is truly a key part of fighting poverty in Jerusalem.

School Improvement Program

Funded by USAID, the School Improvement Program (SIP) has budgeted $20 million over four years to invigorate school leadership, improve the quality of teachers and promote community engagement within 50 schools in areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Each school will undergo pervasive assessment strategies to identify the underachieving schools. Once the list of institutions is complete, SIP and USAID will host district-wide events with parents, teachers, students and other members of the community to get them engaged in the educational journey. The School Improvement Program will not only improve educational tactics, but will also provide career guidance and experiential training as well as vital life skills training.

Facilitating Access to Infrastructure Resilience (FAIR)

The FAIR Program was put into action by the Ministry of Local Government (MoLG) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project will aid national institutions in addressing infrastructure concerns and provide access to viable, equitable and affordable industrialization to decrease poverty in Jerusalem. These infrastructure plans will concentrate on housing, cultural heritage, energy, transportation and water. MoLG and the UNDP are hoping this will strengthen communities and improve living standards while preserving their existence.

Partnering with the FAIR program, the Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People and the Royal Charity Organization – Kingdom of Bahrain are establishing a public library in East Jerusalem for $517,880. Their hope for this library is to renew the position of culture within East Jerusalem by promoting national identity. The plan is to remodel and restructure an old building in the Old City of Jerusalem in the area of Aqbat Risas. The library will be equipped with books, furnishings, IT equipment, a library system and a website where the library catalog can be accessed.

Enduring years and generations of war and turmoil, Jerusalem has definitely seen hardship and fallen on difficult times. Through education, infrastructure and an increase in appreciation for their culture and heritage, poverty in Jerusalem is sure to decrease throughout the next few years, rebuilding social status and enriching traditions.

– Rebecca Lee
Photo: Unsplash

Learn more about poverty in Israel


poverty in Palestine
Palestine is comprised of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and poverty in Palestine affects one-quarter of the 4.8 million residents. Half of the Palestinian population relies on aid for basic survival due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.

The unemployment rate among Palestinian youth is at 56 percent, the highest in the world. Thirty-three percent of households are food insecure, with rates even higher in refugee camps, “driven by high rates of poverty resulting from unemployment, which is in part due to ongoing Israeli access and movement restrictions, as well as high prices for food and economic shocks.”

The Israeli occupation of Palestine has been called the longest-running occupation in recent history. The World Bank reports that the nature of the ongoing occupation with no end in sight and manmade barriers have isolated Palestine from the rest of the world, damaging the country’s economic development and constraining growth and investment.

A new tax plan recently unveiled by the Palestinian Cabinet is due to expand the tax liability of Palestinian citizens. In an attempt to curb the 2018 budgetary deficit, which projects an increase in expenses to exceed the increase in revenues by 11 percent, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah met with business representatives and civil society members and agreed on “developing the tax system through tax liability by widening the base of taxpayers, attracting new taxpayers and limiting tax evasion.” These measures, which have been criticized as further burdening Palestinians, were reportedly taken in response to the threat by President Trump to halt all financial aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Residents have been dealing with poverty in Palestine for a very long time. International aid organizations have been able to somewhat address the immediate needs of Palestinian households in the aftermath of major crises. Groups like American Near East Refugee Aid and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, among others, have helped ease the sufferings of Palestinian locals and refugees by providing a critical lifeline for daily survival in the form of international and humanitarian aid.

Palestinian households have also utilized coping mechanisms such as relying on friends and extended families and saving money for higher education at an early stage of a child’s life. In order to prevent a power vacuum that emboldens extremist groups or other factions to seize power, observers have encouraged Palestinian political forces to rebuild a national movement based on democratic principles. Critics, however, have noted that there can be no real democracy under an Israeli occupation.

Palestine and its people face continuing challenges to their sustainable livelihood and daily survival, in part due to the political flashpoints that have deteriorated this Middle Eastern region’s stability, economic development and prosperity. Humanitarian and foreign aid has helped alleviate the stringent conditions of local businesses and foster development. Reducing poverty in Palestine is largely dependent on a change in the political conditions of this volatile region.

– Mohammed Khalid

Photo: Flickr