THE UNEMPLOYMENT rate in the Gaza Strip sharply increased in 2018 to reach 52% compared with 44% in 2017, while in the West Bank it was 18% in 2018, compared to 19% the year before, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said in its latest results of the Labour Force Survey 2018.
It said there was however a significant increase by 26% in the participation rate of females in the workforce in the Gaza Strip in 2018 compared to only 18% in the West Bank, where unemployment rate for females was 51% in 2018 compared to only 25% for males.
The number of the employment in the local market increased from 823,000 in 2017 to 827,000 in 2018, an increase by 5% in the West Bank, while it decreased by 9% in Gaza Strip.
The services sector and other branches was the biggest employer in the local market, where the percentage of employment was more than one third of employed in the West Bank compared with more than half in Gaza Strip.
The average weekly hours worked by wage employees in the West Bank was 43.8 hours compared with 37.3 hours in Gaza Strip, and the average number of days worked per month was 22.8 days in West Bank and 22.6 days in Gaza Strip, said the PCBS.
The number of employed in Israel and Israeli settlements was about 127,000 in 2018 with the largest share of those, 59%, had a work permit while 30% worked without any permit and 11% had an Israeli identity card or foreign passport.
The number of employees in Israeli settlements was 22,000 in 2018 compared with 21,000 in 2017.
The construction sector recorded the highest employment rate in Israel and Israeli settlements, which was 64% of the total Palestinian employment.
The average daily wage for the wage employees in Israel and Israeli settlements increased between 2017 and 2018 by 16 Israeli shekels to reach 243 shekels (approx $67).
According to the PCBS, 70% of employed individuals are wage employees, 26% are self-employed and employers, while 4% are unpaid family members.
In addition, half of the wage employees in the private sector are hired without any contract and 25% of wage employees contribute to a pension fund. In contrast, less than half of wage employees are women (43%) and have paid maternity leave.
It said 30% of wage employees in the private sector received less than the minimum wage of 1,450 shekels.
There was a significant decrease in the wage employees in the private sector who received less than the minimum wage in the West Bank from 18% to 12% between 2017 and 2018, and the percentage in Gaza Strip decreased from 81% to 72% during the same period.
Despite the low rate in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the gap in the monthly wage rate remains high; 671 shekels in Gaza Strip compared with 1,076 shekels in the West Bank.
The PCBS said 4% of children aged 10 to 17 years were employed; 5% in the West Bank and 2% in Gaza Strip.
• Saudi Arabia announced on Wednesday that it has transferred $60 million to the Palestinian Finance Ministry.
The Saudi ambassador to Egypt, Osama bin Ahmed al-Nugali, said in a statement that the $60 million, transferred from the Saudi Development Fund, makes up its monthly contribution to support the Palestinian Authority’s budget for November and December 2018 as well as January 2019.
He affirmed that this contribution is part of his country’s permanent support to the Palestinian question at the political, economic and humanitarian levels.
• Israeli forces have destroyed water pipelines supplying water to Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron, said a municipal source.
Mayor of al-Tuwani Muhammad Rab’i said that a bulldozer escorted by Israeli forces destroyed the water pipelines that used to transport water to the collection of 19 Palestinian hamlets.
Rab’i slammed the pipelines destruction as part of the Israeli measures intended to tighten the noose around the 1,500 Palestinian residents and displace them to make room for settlement construction.
Masafer Yatta is composed of dozens of small communities, which rely heavily on animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, and is classified as Area C, which is under full Israeli military control and makes up around 60 per cent of the area of the occupied West Bank.
The area has been subjected to repeated Israeli violations by settlers and soldiers targeting their main source of living – livestock.
Israeli violations against the area include demolition of animal barns, homes and residential structures. Issuance of construction permits by Israel to local Palestinians in the area is non-existent.
He added that such Israeli measures aim to force residents out of their place in favour of expanding the settlements.
• Senior Hamas officials met yesterday with Egyptian journalists and reporters at the Bureau of Egypt Today Newspaper.
The Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh and member of Hamas Political Bureau Khalil al-Hayya conducted a lengthy meeting with the Egyptian journalists, where Dr Said Abdul Muein, Chairman of Board of Directors of Egypt Today, and Abdu Latif al-Minawi, the Chief Editor of the newspaper attended.
Haniyeh briefed the journalists and reporters on the developments and challenges facing the Palestinian cause in light of the current circumstances in the region.
He also highlighted the Hamas vision to find a way out of the current deteriorating situation of the Palestinian cause.
The Hamas top official mentioned that achieving reconciliation should be based on partnership, restructuring the Palestinian home, and re-building the Palestinian political system, as per the previously signed reconciliation agreements.
Haniyeh, furthermore, reiterated that the Palestinian general elections had to be held and the Palestinian people’s will had to be respected.
Concerning the schemes targeting the Palestinian issue, the Hamas official said that Hamas, along with the Palestinian people, would not accept any plan liquidating their issue or abolishing their constants, above all the ‘deal of the century’.
‘Meanwhile, Hamas will mobilise international, regional, Islamic, and Arab support to block such schemes’, Hanyieh added.
Hamas would keep coordination with the brotherly Arab countries, the first of which Egypt, to uphold the constants and fulfil the aspirations of the Palestinian people, he added.
Following the meeting, the Hamas senior official answered the questions of attending journalists and reporters.
As an answer to a question, Haniyeh said: ‘The Palestinian people and Egypt maintain rock-solid relations … and Gaza will remain a guard for the National Security of Egypt.’
As regards the priorities of Hamas, the top Hamas leader said that Hamas efforts are concentrated on supporting the Palestinian people, upholding their rights, enhancing their steadfastness and resistance until liberating Palestine and returning to their hometowns and villages from which they were expelled in 1948 by Zionist gangs.
‘Then, the Palestinian people would establish their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital,’ Hanyieh added.
The Hamas top official extended Hamas’ congratulations to Egypt for being elected to preside over the African Union, wishing the Egyptian President success in his new position.