World Bulletin / News Desk
The Gaza Strip has incurred $500 million in losses since the Egyptian army launched a crackdown on a network of smuggling tunnels on the borders between the isolated Palestinian enclave and Egypt, a new study has concluded.
"Losses incurred by the Gaza Strip have proved catastrophic and unprecedented in scale," economist Maher al-Tabaa, the study's author, told Anadolu Agency on Monday.
The study concluded that the closure of the underground tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip had brought economic activities to a standstill.
According to the study, the strip's gross domestic product (GDP) has dropped by 60 percent in the past five and half months.
It added that Gaza's construction sector, which relies heavily on construction materials smuggled via the underground tunnels, had come to a total halt.
The construction field is the biggest labor-absorbing sectors in Gaza and contributes about 27 percent of the strip's GDP (nearly $135 million).
The Egyptian military destroyed scores of tunnels along the border with Gaza following the July 3 ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi.
Relations between Hamas – which governs the Gaza Strip – and Egypt's new military-backed rulers have deteriorated had also deteriorated since the overthrow of Morsi, a leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.
Egyptian media accuses Hamas, an ideological offshoot of the Brotherhood, of interfering in Egypt's internal affairs and supporting the Brotherhood in its ongoing faceoff with the army-installed interim administration.
Hamas has repeatedly denied both accusations.
Estimates show that unemployment rates have skyrocketed in Gaza to reach 32.5 percent in the third quarter of 2013.
"The unemployment rates are expected to hit 40 percent in the fourth quarter of the year," said al-Tabaa, the study's author.
The Gaza Strip, home to nearly two million Palestinians, has been reeling under a chocking Israeli blockade since 2006.
"This is the worst siege the world had seen and must be lifted to help revive the Gaza economy," stressed the economist.
"The current economic catastrophe has affected almost all aspects of daily life in the Gaza Strip."
Mohamed Hasanah, coordinator for the Organization of Islamic Organization (OIC), told AA that nearly 90 percent of infrastructure projects in Gaza had been halted.
According to an OIC study, between 70-80 percent of Gaza fishermen and about 80 percent of drivers have been driven jobless by an acute fuel shortage.
It concluded that access to potable water had been reduced by 40 percent with more than 57 of the strip's inhabitants in need for food supplies.
"The closure of the tunnels has led to a total collapse in all economic sectors in Gaza," Hasanah lamented.
Some EU member states remain nervous about the impact on their own fragile economies. The sanctions deal was agreed only after initial proposals were narrowed.
Bankers in Singapore say Russians looking for a new Cyprus have come to the wrong place.
The default could get much messier and take longer to clear up if creditors force an "acceleration" for early payment on their bonds.
The ban came a day after the European Union and United States imposed their first sanctions aimed at hitting broad sectors of the Russian economy
Russia called new U.S. sanctions "destructive and short-sighted"
While the default will obviously hurt the economy, it will not be as severe as in 2001, economists say
The Czechs, who supported the action, have been against sweeping sanctions, worried about trade relations with Russia
The trade program has been criticized for disproportionately benefiting certain industries and a handful of countries, including Nigeria, South Africa and Angola.
The United Kalavrvta tanker, carrying some 1 million barrels of crude worth about $100 million, arrived off the coast of Texas on Saturday but has yet to unload its disputed cargo.
The uncertainty comes at a bad time for the 18 countries in the euro zone, whose economy is already in the doldrums.
"Kalashnikov regrets that consumers are faced with such a problem," said spokeswoman Yekaterina Boni.
Cairo and Khartoum had earlier accepted a proposal by Addis Ababa to hold the talks in Sudan in the third week of August.
Discounting the bulk of Japan's 48 reactors due to their long-term outage, the report said the number of operating units in the world has fallen to 388, 50 less than the peak in 2002.
Over 200,000 NUMSA-affiliated metalworkers declared a nationwide strike on July 1 to demand a 15-percent pay raise for laborers and a ban on labor brokers
The council said in a statement that any trade in oil ISIL or Nusra Front, would violate United Nations sanctions as both groups have been blacklisted.
The project is being implemented in collaboration with the Ethiopian and Norwegian governments at a cost of over $2.8 million.