The findings reveal an attempt to seek a solution and the existence of Israeli efforts, in conjunction with foreign governments and international organizations, to advance the Palestinian economy and commerce in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. This fact is also reflected in the increased level of activity of the Crossings from Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.Regarding employment in the Strip – an increase of approximately 5.45% can be seen in the daily wage in the first quarter alone, combined with a drop of 0.5% in the rate of unemployment compared with the corresponding quarter last year. In addition, a continuation of the last year's trend of an increase in the level of participation in the workforce can be observed, and this figure now stands at 39.9% compared to 39.4% in the previous quarter (an increase of 0.5% over just the last 3 months).
Regarding the energy crisis – Since 2011 the Hamas government, by means of the Palestinian Authority, has ceased purchasing fuels from Israel and the majority of fuel entered the Strip illegally via tunnels from Egypt in an unauthorized and non-regulated manner. With the reduction in the quantity of fuels entering via the tunnels and the lack of regular payment by Hamas for the fuel from Israel, the energy crisis in the Gaza Strip has deepened. At the height of the crisis, the government of Qatar gave an undertaking to contribute approximately 30 million liters of diesel to be transported, in accordance with a decision by the political and military leadership, by the COGAT. The delivery of diesel from Egypt was authorized through the Nitzana Crossing to the Kerem Shalom Crossing in Israel and, from there, to the Gaza Strip. The process of transferring the diesel began on June 7 and until now approximately three million liters of diesel donated by Qatar for the power station in Gaza have been delivered.
Upon completion of the agricultural export season from Gaza, in addition to the continued export of flowers from the Strip, an increase of 86% in the scope of agricultural exports can be observed – 708 tons of agricultural produce were exported this year compared with 30 tons last year.
In addition to the exports of furniture and textile products that included 4000 sweaters to Britain and 45 pallets of furniture on two different occasions to a furniture exhibition in Jordan, a further request from the WFP Organization for the marketing of 720 tons of date snacks from the Gaza Strip to Judea and Samaria was authorized. This was in addition to 140 tons of such snacks that were already marketed at the beginning of the year.The Kerem Shalom Crossing continues to operate, even when under the threat of ongoing rocket fire. During the last 6 months alone, in excess of 725 thousand tons of goods and food products, 18 thousand tons of gas, and 15 million liters of diesel have passed through the Crossing.
Action is also being implemented in order to advance the economy of Judea and Samaria, within the framework of which, an agreement has been signed between the Governments of Israel and the Netherlands regarding the stationing of an advanced x-ray machine at the Allenby Bridge Crossing. The purpose of this step is to enhance the import and export capabilities in Judea and Samaria. An example of this can be observed by the increase of approximately 30% in the scale of goods exported overseas by the stationing of a new produce x-ray machine at the Allenby Bridge and subsequently, at the Kerem Shalom Crossing, in order to increase the volume of commerce between Gaza and Judea and Samaria to Jordan, and from there, to the whole world.