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Lifting curbs could see West Bank GDP spike

AFP-JIJI

The Palestinian economy could expand by more than a third if Israel were to lift its restrictions on about 60 percent of the West Bank that it controls, the World Bank said Tuesday.

“More than half the land in the West Bank, much of it agricultural and resource rich, is inaccessible to Palestinians,” the bank said in a report. “The first comprehensive study of the potential impact of this ‘restricted land’ . . . sets the current loss to the Palestinian economy at about $3.4 billion.”

If firms and farms were allowed to develop in the territory, “this would add as much as 35 percent to the Palestinian GDP, ” it said.

A plan was published a fortnight ago to revive the ailing Palestinian economy, in an effort to support peace negotiations with Israel.