More than 1 million Palestinians are living in poverty in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since some 40 percent are unemployed - many of them since fighting with Israel broke out, according to a survey published Saturday.
Some 260,000 Palestinians, out of a total of 3 million living in the areas, have lost their jobs since the fighting began on September 28, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reported. The closure Israel has imposed on the Palestinian areas during the clashes prevents some 135,000 laborers - more than one-sixth of the labor force - from reaching work in Israel, said the head of the bureau, Hassan Abu Libdah, in a press conference. "The high unemployment rate has left many families without a breadwinner," Libdah said.
Some 1.25 million Palestinians are living in poverty, meaning their families are surviving on only NIS 1,622 ($396) per month. In addition, the Israeli blockade has caused many Palestinian companies to close since they are unable to transport goods. The closure prevents Palestinians from entering Israel and from crossing from one Palestinian area to another.