Geneva, 10 November 2023 (TDI): The International Labour Organization (ILO) has launched a $20 million funding appeal in Geneva to address the urgent needs of Palestinian workers and employers affected by the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The initiative aims to provide immediate relief and support a three-phase program for long-term job and business recovery, as well as social protection.
ILO Director-General Gilbert Houngbo highlighted the tragic loss of human life and the unprecedented impact on livelihoods, jobs, income, businesses, and civilian infrastructure caused by the hostilities.
The United Nations agency projects that a substantial 61% of Gaza’s labor market, equivalent to 182,000 jobs, has been eradicated due to the conflict.
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The spillover effects extend to the West Bank, where almost 24% of employment, or 208,000 jobs, has also been lost. Collectively, this results in a daily labor income loss of $16 million.
Houngbo highlighted the destruction of entire neighborhoods, severe damage to infrastructure, the closure of businesses, widespread internal displacement, and the crippling impact on economic activity due to shortages of water, food, and fuel.
Moreover, nearly 6,000 individuals, formerly employed in Israel before the conflict, find themselves stranded in the West Bank under harsh conditions. UN health and aid workers face extreme danger in the field.
In addition, Israel’s imposed access measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) have nullified access rights. Workers and traders with valid permits are barred from entering Israel and East Jerusalem through checkpoints.
Trade restrictions have extended to crucial goods moving from Israeli ports to the OPT, exacerbating the challenge of meeting families’ basic needs and undermining the overall economy.
Gaza has faced an Israeli blockade since 2006, leading to dire conditions even before the current conflict.
The enclave has consistently grappled with elevated rates of poverty and vulnerability, and its unemployment rate, reaching 46.4% in the second quarter of this year, stands among the highest globally.