Sunday, November 12, 2023

UNESCWA Reports re Gaza


The only side The Socialist Party takes, in the ongoing war between Israel and Gaza, as in other capitalist conflicts, is the side of the working class who are caught up in the horrendous effects that modern weapons inflict upon the innocent and their dire consequences. Those who choose to support, shill for, march or wave flags and banners in support of either participants, whether in this conflict or others, need to be aware that there is a solution, and only one which would prevent such military actions ever happening again. The solution is the replacement of capitalism by socialism.

In 1937 the Hindenburg airship caught fire when coming into land in New Jersey. There were thirty six fatalities. A tearful radio commentator upon witnessing the disaster and seeing passengers and crew burning to death cried, ‘Oh, the humanity!’ An utterance even more relevant today.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia has issued two reports on the economic and social effects on Gaza of the current war.

One report was issued in October and another in November.

From the November report: ‘The shock to Palestinian economic activity has been severe as a result of the total siege of Gaza, destruction of capital, forced displacement, restrictions on movement of people and goods in the West Bank. While around 390,000 jobs have already been lost since the start of the war, early estimates indicate that the gross domestic product (GDP) loss in 2023 could range between 4 and 12 per cent, and between 4 and 9 per cent of GDP in 2024, compared with pre-war estimates, depending on the duration of the war. Poverty is also expected to rise sharply by between 20 and 45 per cent, depending on the duration of the war. A sharp decline is expected in the Human Development Index (HDI), setting the State of Palestine back by between 11 and 16 years, depending on the intensity of the conflict.’

The report further states: ‘The blockade imposed on Gaza since June 2007 is one of the most severe manifestations of Israeli long-standing policies of restricting the mobility of Palestinians in what amounts to collective punishment. In addition to obstructing reconstruction and recovery efforts after recurrent Israeli military offensives, the blockade has affected all aspects of Palestinians’ lives in Gaza. The combined effects of the blockade and recurrent military escalations have led to social and economic de-development, and created a perpetual human made humanitarian crisis.’

It concludes: ‘To underscore the calamity reflected in these statistics, if hostilities were to end completely today, humanitarian relief and foreign assistance were allowed entry, education activities were resumed, unemployment and income poverty were reduced owing to the resumption of economic and reconstruction activities , and access to water and health services were improved, more than 69 per cent of the Gazan population would still be living in multidimensional poverty, and the average intensity of deprivation would be 49 per cent.

The reason for this is that, many critical indicators of the national MPI will not immediately bounce back to their pre-war levels. However, the moment the war ends, there will be a significant reduction in deprivation across many key indicators, notably school enrolment (deprivation reduced from 100 to 50 per cent), access to frequent water supplies (from 90 to 40 per cent), access to health services (90 to 30 per cent) and unrestricted movement (from 90 to 20 per cent). In short, the current war will have a prolonged impact on human capabilities in Gaza for years to come, but a swift ceasefire and flow of humanitarian assistance would produce a tangible immediate reduction in the deprivation level for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian families.’

The October report noted: ‘The scale of death and destruction during the first 18 days of the current war has already surpassed that of all previous military escalations combined. As at day 18, 41 per cent of the casualties were children (2,704), which exceeds three times the combined total of previous escalations.’


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