Closures, unemployment and poverty


To read the relevant Articles in international humanitarian law applying to the Israeli closure policy and the consequences of the policy in form of mass unemployment, poverty and the denial of the Palestinian people's political, civilian, social, economic and cultural rights click here.



Severe internal closure within the first year of the intifada:

  • West Bank: 249 days (66%); the Gaza strip: 18 days (5%)

  • The remaining days partial closure was in place

Closure between the OPT and Israel during the first year of the intifada:

  • The Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing between Gaza and Israel, used by Palestinian workers working in Israel, was closed 263 days (72%).

  • The so-called “Safe Passage” road, between Gaza and the West Bank, designed to allow Palestinians to travel freely within the territories, has been closed since 6 October 2000.

  • Of the three commercial crossings between Gaza and Israel, the Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing was closed 100% of all days during the first year of the intifada. The Karni/Muntar crossing was closed 10% of all days. And Sufa/Qarara crossing was closed 65% of all days.


Closure of the international borders during the first year of the intifada:

  • Allenby/Karameh Bridge (between the West Bank and Jordan) was closed to Palestinian passengers for 84 days (23%) and for 78% for commercial traffic.

  • Rafah crossing (between the Gaza strip and Egypt) was closed for 46% of all days for passengers and 72% for commercial traffic.

  • Gaza international airport was closed by the Israelis on 6 February 2001 and was later destroyed by bulldozers and F16 fighters.




Since the outbreak of the intifada, the Palestinian economy has witnessed:

  • A more than 20% reduction in domestic production level (prior to the Israeli operation Defensive Shield).

  • A daily domestic loss average between 6 and 8.6 million USD per business day.

  • Before the Israeli operation Defensive Shield in April, 305 million USD worth of Palestinian infrastructure and private property had been destroyed by the Israeli occupying forces.

  • The total damage inflicted on civilian infrastructure and institutions during the Israeli operation Defensive Shield in April is estimated at 361 million USD.

  • An average per capita income 30% below what it was when the Gaza-Jericho Agreement was signed in 1994.

  • During the Israeli incursions into the West Bank it’s estimated that the effect of the imposed curfews is 5.2 million USD in daily output/income losses to Palestinian businesses.




  • Approximately 35% prior to the Israeli Operation Defensive Shield in April. In Gaza strip the unemployment rate is now 65%.

  • 75-80.000 Palestinians have lost their jobs in Israel and the settlements since September 2000. Approximately 25.000 of the workers were from Gaza. Another 60.000 jobs has been lost in the OPT as demand has collapsed and businesses were forced to lay of workers.




  • Between 40-50% of the total Palestinian population are living below the international poverty line (two dollars per day) (has risen from 21% in Sept. 2000).

  • In Gaza  81% is living below the poverty line.

  • 2/3 of the persons who have become poor since the outbreak of the Second Intifada – the “new poor” – are found in the Gaza strip, with almost half found in Gaza City and the second biggest city, Khan Younis.


[Last updated 28 June 2002]




To read the relevant Articles in international humanitarian law applying to the illegality of an occupying power settling occupied land, click here.


  • The Israelis has established approximately 200 settlements[2] in the OPT housing 208,015 settlers exclusive some 200,000 settlers in occupied East Jerusalem (June 2001-numbers)[3].

  • Israeli settlers constitute 9-10% of the total West Bank population and only 0,6% of the Gaza population.

  • In Gaza the Israelis have established 19 settlements, most of them concentrated in the Gush Katif bloc in the southern part of Gaza. Approximately 6.900 settlers are living in Gaza.

  • The Gazan settlements, the military spots surrounding them, the by pass roads and the Israeli controlled border zones and the "yellow areas" (areas where Palestinians live under Israeli control) take up 42% of the Gaza strip.

  • For every 4 settlers in Gaza there are approximately 3 Israeli soldiers, according to information from the settlers. Every isolated Gazan settlement (settlements not part of the enclosed Gush Katif settlement bloc) requires a battalion, which means there are more soldiers than settlers[4].

  • By Sept. 2001 at least 33 Palestinians had been killed by settlers since the outbreak of the al-Aqsa intifada a year earlier[5].

  • Israel has constructed 340.8 km of bypass roads linking settlements to each other and to Israel. These roads disrupt Palestinian territorial contiguity and divide the West Bank and Gaza strip into dozens of isolated pieces. The roads incl. 50-75 m buffer zones take up more than 50 km2 Palestinian land.

  • For each 100 km road, some 10,000 dunums/2,500 acres of land is confiscated.

  • Besides the high security costs, Israeli government expenditure includes low purchase prices, mortgage grants (up to 95% of the cost), Priority "A" categorization (for state-subsidized benefits and incentives such as tax breaks, free schooling and school busing, and business grants). The 2001 budget foresaw a 7%-income tax break for settlers.


[Last updated 28 June 2002]



[2] Figures regarding the number of settlements and outposts in the OPT very from 145-282 according to source.

[3] Figures regarding settler population vary according to source. We use the Israeli Interior Ministry, Aug. 2001.

[4] “Shorten the lines” by Ze’ev Schiff, Ha’aretz Daily, 13/6/2002.

[5] PCHR data.