Around 25.8% of Palestinians suffered from poverty in the Palestinian Territory in 2011, said a report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) on Monday. It showed that slightly more than one out of four individuals was living below the poverty line in 2011, 17.8% in the West Bank and 38.8% in Gaza Strip. Similarly about 12.9% of individuals were living below the deep poverty line in 2011, 7.8% in the West Bank and 21.1% in Gaza Strip.
In 2011, the poverty line and deep poverty line for the reference household (two adults and
three children) stood at 2,293 Israeli shekels ($637) per month and 1,832 shekels
($509) respectively. (The criteria were the amount that a family of five was able to spend on food, housing and clothing as is clarified in an earlier report of the PCBS from 1998.
A report released last May by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI ) put the number of Palestinians in East Jerusalem living below the poverty line even much higher: at no less than 78%. For children the number is even 84%. And it is on the increase: in 2006 the numbers for adults and children were 64% and 73% respectively.
Reasons are the neglect of the Arabic part of the city, with shortages of - for instance - 1000 classrooms, and of 50 kilometer of sewage pipes. Another is 'the Wall' which divides the main body of the city from many of its outskirts. ACRI mentions that since 1999 more than 5000 firms in Arabic East Jerusalem have closed their doors. As one of the consequences an estimated 40% of the male workforce does not participate in the job market and of the women some 85% is thought to be jobless. What may play a role as well, particularly in the case of the women, is the extreme shortage of kindergarten facilities. For some 15.000 children in the age of 3-4 years there are no more than 433 places available in a creche or pre-school.
As for the poverty in the West Bank and Gaza, also the occupation plays the biggest role, according to the World Bank. In Gaza it is the the almost complete isolation from the rest of the world and the Israeli siege of the Strip. In the West Bank it is the Wall, the checkpoints and the many restrictions on the movement of people and goods.