To download full report see: West Bank and Gaza Investment Climate Assessment: Unlocking the Potential of the Private Sector - April 07.
Access to more than 50 percent of West Bank restricted for Palestinians: World Bank
The Associated Press
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
RAMALLAH, West Bank: A new World Bank report says the troubled Palestinian economy cannot recover unless Israel dismantles its web of physical and administrative obstacles to Palestinian movement in the West Bank. Here are some figures from the report.
Since Israel signed an agreement on improving movement and access for Palestinians in November 2005, restrictions have instead become tighter. Since the agreement, the number of physical obstacles in the West Bank increased by 44 percent, to 547.
Israel's permit system can be used to control the movement of Palestinian residents outside their immediate municipal area and to restrict access to more than 50 percent of the West Bank. In compiling that figure, the bank considered the West Bank and east Jerusalem as a single unit, in line with the international community's refusal to accept Israel's annexation of the eastern sector of the city.
Physical and administrative obstacles have divided the West Bank into 10 enclaves, and Palestinians have to move through checkpoints to get from one to the other.
About 250,000 Israelis live in 121 settlements in the West Bank, or roughly twice as many as the 126,900 who were present in the area at the time of 1994 interim peace deals between Israel and the Palestinians. Between 2001 and 2005, the settler population grew by 5.5 percent a year, while the population within Israel grew by 1.8 percent a year.
Built-up areas of Jewish settlements cover about 3 percent, and the settlements' municipal boundaries an additional six percent. The settlements' areas of "regional jurisdiction" are larger than the boundaries, and include agricultural and industrial areas and space for further expansion.
The Israeli settlement watchdog group Peace Now, citing official government figures, estimates that nearly one-third of land included in settlement jurisdictions is privately owned by Palestinians.
Israel's separation barrier slices off 8.5 percent of the West Bank. That area, declared "closed" by Israel and falling under a strict permit regime, is home to some 50,000 Palestinians in 38 villages and towns.
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