DUBAI: The Israel-Hamas war has devastated the economies of both the embattled Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, the International Monetary Fund’s chief said Sunday, adding that only “durable peace” would improve the outlook.
“The Palestinian economy’s dire outlook is worsening as the conflict persists,” managing director Kristalina Georgieva told the World Governments Summit in Dubai.
“Only a durable peace and political solution will fundamentally change it”.
“Economically, the impact of the conflict has been devastating,” Georgieva said.
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In the war-ravaged coastal territory, economic activity dropped 80 percent from October through December compared with a year earlier, the IMF chief said.
In the West Bank, the drop was 22 percent, she added.
The larger Palestinian territory has been hit hard by Israel’s withdrawal of 130,000 work permits, the proliferation of checkpoints that has heavily disrupted transportation, the loss of tourism, being cut off from Gaza and Israel’s withholding of tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority.
The Gaza Strip has been under intense Israeli assault for over four months, in retaliation for the October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel.
Hamas’s unprecedented attack resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
Israel vowed to destroy the Palestinian group and launched air strikes and a ground offensive that have killed at least 28,176 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.
Georgieva spoke at the opening of the World Government Summit, an annual gathering of top business and political figures in the United Arab Emirates, which runs until Wednesday.