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    A Palestinian boy sits next to the destroyed 15-story Basha Tower following early morning Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014.

    ‘Without Occupation’: Palestinian Economy Could Double If Freed From Israel

    © AP Photo / Khalil Hamra
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    The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also reported a rising infant mortality rate in Gaza.

    In the report, the UNCTAD attempted to estimate the "the staggering economic cost of occupation,” including limits on movement, destruction of assets, expansion of Israeli settlements, and confiscation of land, water and natural resources among the "channels through which occupation deprives the Palestinian people of their human right to development,” Haaretz reported.

    Combined, these factors "generated permanent crises of unemployment, poverty and food insecurity," UNCTAD said.

    "Without occupation, the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory could produce twice the GDP [gross domestic product] it currently generates," the report said.

    The Palestinian economy shrank.2 percent in 2014 during Operation Protective Edge, which killed over 2,200 Palestinians and 72 Israelis. On top of the loss of life, the economic damage to the area was three times that of Gaza's GDP.

    Two years later, 91 percent of the homes and structures that were destroyed have not been replaced, leaving over 75,000 people displaced.

    “A shocking indicator of the grim situation in Gaza is the rising infant mortality rate,… (which) has risen for the first time in 50 years," the report said.

    Israel issued a strident defensive response to the findings.

    "The UN report is filled with half-truths and vicious lies against the State of Israel. I call on the UN secretary-general to reject the conclusions of the report, as they are an ugly distortion of the truth,” Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, demanded.

    "The Palestinians must not be allowed to take over the UN's agencies and divert them of their original purpose—working for the betterment of the world—thus turning them into ‘lie machines’ that accuse Israel of everything imaginable," Danon said.

    He then appeared to threaten to cut Israeli funding to UNCTAD if findings continued to be cast Israel in a negative light.

    "The UN secretary-general must make it clear that continuing to spread lies against Israel will lead to a serious and painful cutback in the budget of the agency preparing the report," he said.

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    Economy, United Nations, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Danny Danon, Palestine, Gaza
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