the Disillusioned kid
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Friday, June 11, 2004

There's an interesting article on the BBC website which suggests that the Gaza withdrawal plan (assuming it goes through) will exacerbate unemployment in Gaza (which already stands at 40-60%), beginning with the closure of the Erez Industrial Zone, an industrial park in northern Gaza which provides jobs for 4,000 Palestinians.

The closure is likely to exacerbate the chronic levels of poverty in the territory. Already 86% of households in Gaza receive some form of humanitarian assistance. Indeed, the move was described by Palestinian Minister for Labour, Ghassan Khatib as "collective punishment" and he argued that any move to close the zone should be co-ordinated with the Palestinian Authority and called for international help to set up new jobs in Gaza.

One section of the article merits particular attention:
The Erez zone had been a model of economic co-operation between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli businesses, mainly textile factories, had benefited from cheap labour while Palestinians had enjoyed stable employment.

The factories will be moved to southern Israel and owners compensated.
(Note that there is no compensation for the workers who will be condemned to live in poverty as a result of the closure.) With the move of the factories to Israel, the BBC report that Arie Aron, economics professor at Ben Gurion University "warned that while jobs would be created for poor Israelis the factories would struggle to adapt to paying higher wages." Translation: The Palestinians have served as an easily exploitable workforce, providing cheap labour and presumably reducing wages in Israel proper. A strange "model of economic co-operation" by most decent people's standards. This is hardly an unusual phenomenon. The same situation can be witnessed in the numerous Third World countries where the population are exploited by Western multinationals under the aegis of the phenomenon typically described as "globalisation".

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