The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) condemned Israel's blockade on
Gaza Strip Monday, in a report reviewing the territory's financial state.
In the five years of the blockade, the unemployment rate in Gaza has exceeded 45%, making it one of the highest in the world, the report said, deeming Israel's imposed financial vise on the Strip as both ineffective and counterproductive.
UNRWA said that unemployment figures for the second half of 2010 (45.2%), were a slight improvement over the corresponding figures form 2009 (45.7%), but still worse than those recorded in the first half of 2010, which stood at 42%.
"These are disturbing trends," UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness said, adding that it was "difficult to understand the logic of the Israeli blockade… which deliberately condemns hundreds of potentially productive people to poverty, without detracting form Hamas' power in Gaza.
"Our research shows that since 2007 Hamas has
managed to increase public sector employment by about 20%," he added, noting that many private sector jobs have disappeared at the same time.
The report concluded that overall, Hamas has become the Strip's No.1 employer, supplying population with over 70% of available jobs.
"If the purpose of the embargo policy was to weaken the Hamas administration, the public employment figures indicate that it has failed," he said.
Elior Levy is Ynet's Palestinian affairs correspondent
AFP contributed to this report