Only 10 roadblocks remain in Judea and Samaria after more than a hundred others have been removed as “goodwill” measure to bolster the standing of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Mainstream media frequently report that roadblocks are a crucial reason for the failure of the Palestinian Authority to become economically solvent, but the PA itself said last week that is enjoying an exceptional growth rate of 5.2 percent.
The growth rate in Gaza last year was 27 percent, Israel’s coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) reported Tuesday.
It added, “The number of roadblocks was reduced from 44 in 2008 to 10 in 2012, most of which are normally open. The most recent roadblock to be removed, in the last two weeks, was roadblock 328 north of Jericho, connecting Jericho to Highway 90.”
Freer passage of Palestinian Authority Arabs into the rest of Israel also been encouraged by Israel, with an increase of 20 percent in entry permits to Arabs since the beginning of this year, compared with the similar period last year.
The 5.2 per cent growth rate in the PA is less than in the previous year, “apparently the result of the budget crisis experienced by the Palestinian Authority (PA) due to a decrease in international aid, difficulty in getting additional loans from local banks to pay off its deficit, and a lack of increase in local tax revenues,” COGAT noted.
“In light of the PA's budget crisis, Israel transferred at the beginning of the month of Ramadan [three weeks ago] an advance of 180 million shekels (approximately $45 million) of August tax remittances,” it added. The money was intended to help the PA pay salaries in time to celebrate the holiday.
Two weeks ago, Israel and the Palestinian Authority concluded arrangements for the transfer of goods between Israel and the PA and related tax procedures, based on previous economic agreements, in particular the Paris Protocol.
“The measures, which were recommended by the International Monetary Fund, will improve the PA's tax system, increase revenues and bolster the economy,” according to COGAT.
Palestinian Authority exports to the rest of Israel.
Despite the failure of the Palestinian Authority to sustain itself and develop a free market, it has enforced a boycott of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of goods that PA Arabs buy from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
In Gaza, the economy is growing quickly despite dozens of mainstream media reports of a depression.
“The growth is mainly the result of a significant acceleration in building activity in Gaza, due to Israel's easing the restrictions on bringing in building materials (for international projects under the supervision of the PA and the international community) and to the smuggling of building supplies via the tunnels,” COGAT said.