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.
Vessels were delivered to port of Alexandria on June 17
The economic cost of violence according to the 2015 Global Peace Index has reached a staggering $14.3 trillion with Syria the least peaceful country.
The leading opposition lawmaker has said that Turkish President Erdogan is open to all possiblities for a coalition.
Qatar has filed a lawsuit against the leader of the National Front in France for his comments regarding "terror" activities.
Saudi Arabia will put in place an electronic bracelet system for all pilgrims visiting the country to perform their Hajj duties.
After U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated that the central bank was poised to raise interest rates, European stock markets fall.
Italian company Enel will invest 18 billion euro for renewable energy sources in Africa.
Azerbaijani president said in a statement that Southern Gas Corridor project will supply neighboring and European countries for a 100 years
Oil prices rose above $60 due to Iran's call for oil production cut
Economic growth in the Euro-Zone is not at desired levels.
Director and Global Head of Islamic Finance at Standard & Poor's says that growing market for sukuk and new players mark 'significant interest' in Islamic finance.
The Ministry of Finance said that Denmark has written to China to "announce its intention to apply to be a founding member" of the AIIB.
Experts state that the crisis poses risks to the region, which is significant for oil production and exports in the world.
Federal Reserve removes word 'patient;' interest rate increase expected within months. Yellen says timing of rate rise 'not decided,' but will come anytime after April; holds current rates at 0 to 0.25 pct.
Many emerging-market currencies have fallen against the dollar in recent weeks
Anticipated Federal Reserve interest rate hikes making dollar strong against most emerging market currencies, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan says.