Palestine under occupation: Is 2030 Agenda for Development possible?

Firas Jaber of Al Marsad1
Social and Economic Policies Monitor

Two years have passed since the decision by the 90th session of the Palestinian Council of Ministers on 19 February 2016, to form a national team to lead and coordinate national efforts to implement the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in order to contribute to the dissemination of the Agenda, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the outcomes and results of this national team have not been realized, despite the fact that the government attempted to integrate the goals and targets into its national development strategies.

The main obstacle to realizing these goals and targets is the colonial military occupation that continues to abolish all means of development in Palestine, in addition to ongoing land confiscation, continuous looting of Palestinians financial and natural resources, West Bank fragmentation due to settler expansion and the Gaza Strip blockade. UNCTAD’s2 latest study concludes that Palestinians have been denied the human right to development after half a century of occupation and appropriation of land and resources.

The situation is shown in a number of alarming indicators. According to the Palestinian statistics bureau, almost one in three people (29.2 percent) were living below the poverty level in 2017. With 53 percent of individuals in Gaza Strip found to be poor in 2017, the poverty rate for Gaza Strip was more than four times higher than that of the West Bank, which was 13.9 percent,3 reflecting the catastrophic effect of the 10 year and ongoing blockade on the Palestinians.

The Palestinian government has adopted the 2030 Agenda as a complementary tool instead of a fundamental framework for Palestinian development planning.  In the first six years of implementation, the sustainable development priorities have been addressed within a six-year national planning framework and are mainstreamed to sectorial strategies and policy agendas.

On the other hand, the national team and government’s efforts are perceived as reproducing the same policies and practices, as there are no changes to the national development approaches, particularly regarding employment and labour, social protection, progressive taxation, industrial and agricultural development or public expenditure that are intended to contribute to poverty eradication, reduced unemployment and greater equality. On the contrary, the government is taking advantage of the political fragmentation to shrink civil society’s space and take control of the judiciary, while partnering with the private sector in the name of Palestinian society. For instance, the cases of people being evacuated from their lands without any legal justification or community consultation to discuss appropriate alternatives serve as an ample evidence of governmental practices serving the large corporate companies in accumulating their profits.

Goal 1: Poverty eradication or reduction?

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) figures show that poverty rates are increasing in the occupied Palestinian territories in 1967, reaching 43.9 percent. The prevailing unemployment rate was highest among young people aged 15-24 years, reaching 64.7 percent. The poverty rate in the Gaza Strip reached 53.0 percent in 2017, which is more than four times the poverty rate in the West Bank, which is about 13.9 percent.4

No serious measures have been taken to eradicate poverty in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in spite of the fact that there has been a gradual increase in public expenditure, which reached US$5 billion according to the Palestinian Authority’s approved budget for the year 2018, with a total revenue of US$ 3.8 billion, foreign support to budget and development expenditure reached US$775 million, and operating expenses and net lending expenditure reached US$4.5 billion, development expenses reached US$ 530 million and the funding gap amounted to US$ 498 million or US$ 40 million dollars a month.5  None of these expenditures contributed to reducing poverty rates and unemployment.

The government's approach is not to eradicate poverty but to limit it, as stated by the representative of the Ministry of Social Development.6 This done through the Cash Transfer Project (CTP) that is funded by the European Union, the World Bank, and Public Expenditure, under which cash assistance payments of 750 – 1800 ILS7 are issued to poor households every three months. The project also provides assistance to 110,000 households with a budget that amounts to US$130 million annually.8 However, reports indicate a decline in the number of household beneficiaries, which in previous years totalled 120,000. Also, in this regard, the Ministry of Social Development will provide a total amount of 40 million ILS as part of its economic empowerment programme.

After a review of eligibility criteria, a significant number of household have been eliminated from the CTP’s beneficiary list. This wasn’t a result of any improvements in households’ conditions or managing to get out of the poverty cycle; as we noted earlier, figures indicate that poverty rates are increasing. Besides, the economic empowerment programme that only targeted 28,000 households is narrowly financed (around US$ 11 million) and won’t achieve results towards economically empowering these families and moving them from a poverty cycle to an empowerment cycle.

Palestinian civil society believes that the colonial occupation is always working towards impoverishing the Palestinian society and demolishing elements of steadfastness and infrastructure. The impact of the three successive wars on the Gaza Strip and continuous blockade that led more than half of the Palestinian population into a poverty cycle is an ample example. Adding to that the occupation’s control of borders and area ‘C’ ,  not to mention the economic protocols and agreements that caused the Palestinian economy to become distorted and dependent are the main reasons for structural poverty of society and individuals. Also, the PA’s policies aim to ‘control’ poverty instead of reducing it, not to mention eradicating it. Since that cash assistance is the primary tool that is implemented and sustains “acceptable” levels of poverty without implementing adequate foundation for social protection floors.

Decent work: is there work?

In 2017, unemployment in Palestine has reached 27.7 percent with about 364, 000 people unemployed. Moreover, the gap continues to widen between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as unemployment rates in the Gaza Strip reached 43.9 percent compared with 17.9 percent in the West Bank. Unemployment among females is higher than that among males as in 2017 the female unemployment rate was 47.8 percent and the male unemployment rate was 22.5 percent,9 a gap that is widening as more females are entering the labour market. The highest unemployment rate was 49.6 percent among youth aged (20-24) years. It is worth mentioning that the highest unemployment rate among females with 13 or more years of schooling was 52.2 percent of females in the labour force. Also, unemployment among female and male graduates reached 35 percent.10

All donor programmes have failed to resolve unemployment and relevant issues within Palestinian society. On the contrary, employment rates have drastically proliferated, most particularly in the Gaza Strip that has been under a blockade for more than a decade, in addition to Egypt’s continued closure of the Rafah Border Crossing for most of the year and attacks on cross-border tunnels – means for smuggling commodities and food supplies to the Gaza Strip – as requested by the US Administration. Increased unemployment is driving more Palestinian youth to immigrate; as pointed out in the PCBS 2015 survey on youth, around 24 percent of youth 15-29 want to immigrate abroad – 37 percent of youth residing in the Gaza compared with 15 percent of those residing in the West Bank. It is also apparent that the tendency to immigrate among male youth is more likely than female youth, as these rates reached 29 percent for males compared to 18 percent for females.11

Also, all interventions conveyed by Palestinian officials are not feasible, as the government allocated development budgets of only US$16 million for the labour sector for the period 2014 -2016, equivalent to 5.6 percent of the government’s development budget. These amounts are frivolous and are hardly expected to create decent jobs for hundreds of thousands of unemployed! Not to mention that these amounts are allocated to establishing vocational training centres, supporting the Palestinian Fund for Employment and Social Protection, and ensuring occupational safety at work.  And if we look at the goal aiming at protecting and empowering Palestinian women, and promoting their participation in the labour market and access to all basic services and needs, we find out that only US$ 9 million are allocated to realize this parcel of goals.12

The Palestinian Fund for Employment and Social Protection is another tool that was designed to address the unemployment crisis. This fund was established in 2003 and was only activated in 2011. Despite the high expectations of this fund and its mission to promote employment policies and creating job opportunities, which was financed by an Italian loan of US$30 million, unfortunately, the funds were directed to micro-credit companies to finance private youth and women projects and the fund only reproduced the same policies that don’t address the unemployment crisis.

Then, where should Palestinians go for work?

Unemployment is a structural crisis in the Palestinian territories in 1967, and greatly affects the Gaza Strip, youth, graduates and particularly educated women, while the interventions of concerned government officials is ineffective and unsustainable. Therefore, Palestinians are forced to seek other opportunities, such as working inside the Green Line and settlements, which involves about 121,000 female and male workers, or 13 percent of the work force. According to ILO standards, most of these workers (60%) work informally.

Many risks are associated with working in the Green Line and settlements, such as working without permits, working informally in informal facilities, or even informally in formal facilities – a haven for many workers to earn a living. The question remains, is this kind of labour considered decent?

Only 27.1 percent of waged workers have binding employment contracts, while 51.4 percent have no contracts, and 21.5 percent work based on verbal agreements. Also, 75 percent don’t receive any severance pay, 76 percent don’t get paid annual leave, 77 percent don’t get paid sick leave, 59 percent of working females don’t get paid maternity leave. Not to mention that 36 percent of workers are paid below the minimum wage of 1,450 ILS.13

It is evident that unemployment rates within Palestinian society are relatively high, adaptation attempts and finding alternatives to working the Green line and settlements, and working in the informal economy didn’t contribute to reducing unemployment. Also working conditions of workers, wages and labour rights aren’t decent. All attempts by the Ministry of Labour and Employment fund didn’t succeed in creating new job opportunities, nor did they realize better working conditions.

The Occupation’s hegemony of the Palestinian economy and the neoliberal development policies implemented by the PA led to drastic increases in unemployment rates, while the PA’s programmes and policies regarding job creation and employment neglect the interrelatedness of the issue. Development should be directed to the productive sectors, since they are most capable of attracting working forces. Depending on the private sector in the past two decades to generate growth and create job opportunities has radically failed.

Palestinian education: Does it strive for equality and equity?

Sustainable Development Goal (4) states: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Historically, Palestinians gave great weight to education and prioritized associated expenditure. However, the image of education, teachers and students has been deteriorating in recent years. For instance, education is no longer the output/solution to develop symbolic/ human capital, nor does it contribute to finding decent job opportunities for graduates – unemployment among graduates has reached 35 percent.14

In Palestine, public education is free until grade 12. Thereafter students pay small enrollment fees for public and UN Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) schools (which provide education to Palestinian refugees), while tuition fees at civil and private schools range from middle to high. Also, colleges and universities are gradually increasing enrollment fees at technical colleges and universities, causing conflict between student councils and university management; management continues to claim financial deficits while the Ministry of Education and Higher Education provides no financial support to cover the universities’ expenses.15

Palestinian teachers do not receive enough recognition, and aren’t compensated enough to support a decent life. As a result tens of thousands of Palestinian teachers organized a massive movement represented by the “Teachers’ Movement” to strike in 2016, and protested before the ministerial cabinet to demand improvement in working conditions and wages, a role in the educational process, in addition to their union representation. Yet, the movement was squashed by the government and security forces, and an affiliated leadership by the presidency was imposed on the movement to carry on the dialogue. Furthermore, the government recently imposed sanctions of Arbitrary Early Retirement16 on Teachers’ Movement leaders to hinder their roles and influence.

The fact that education expenditure increased to 20.7 percent of the budget in 2017 is positively perceived, as the amounts allocated to Education and Higher Education have significantly improved over the last three years, reaching 17.7 percent in 2014, 17.0 percent in 2015, and 19.96 percent in 2016, while the cost of one student in the education sector reached US$849.44). Yet any increase in expenditure is usually allocated to construction, salary increases and new appointments; meaning that they are not directed to developing the educational process. Development expenditures represent only 18 percent of the budget, while 66 percent is allocated to salaries and wages, meaning any development initiatives will be driven by international donor agencies and associated agendas. Additionally, the declining quality of education in terms of integrating and accommodating students with disabilities is widely recognized, since different supervising authorities fail to integrate and accommodate these students in their schools. For instance, 35 percent of children with disabilities aren’t enrolled in the formal education system. Also, the number of student beneficiaries of activated resource classrooms is low, these rooms are even considered an obstacle to integrating students with disabilities in formal education since most teachers aren’t qualified. This usually leads to school drop-outs and children staying at home, or in other cases a limited number manage to go to special schools which isn’t actual integration.17

Lack of financing isn’t the only and primary reason for educational shortcomings. Even with available funding for school construction in vulnerable areas, the restrictions imposed by the Occupation hinder development of quality education. Despite increasing numbers of higher education graduates and increasing unemployment rates in Palestinian society, the Ministry of Education faces shortages of teachers in certain areas due to movement restriction. This is the case in Jerusalem, which has faced the worst cases of assaults, oppression and injustice, which negatively affected its residents, and mostly affected students, teachers and parents. Also, the ministry cannot compete with the wages of Occupation’s municipality, or with the services of schools sponsored by the municipality, in addition to the fact that any attempts of infrastructure is subjected to restrictions imposed by the occupation.18

On-going restrictions on movement have also affected the Gaza Strip, given the stacking and overcrowding of residents in this small geographic area. The decade-long blockade has negatively impacted students’ access to new expertise and scholarship from universities outside, or benefiting from trainings and international conferences on education – points that are usually overlooked when addressing the deterioration of education quality.  That said, the availability of funds and budget allocations are in any case inadequate to address the lack of equality and quality of education. But, the size of these drawbacks becomes more complicated with a system of two shifts (the same management running morning and evening shifts); 70 percent of UNRWA schools and 63 percent of public schools operate two shifts. In some cases schools operate three shifts to respond to the increase in the number of enrolled children, due to shortages of schools and classrooms.19

Representatives of civil society, particularly those concerned with education, indicated a number of additional challenges, such as: 1) the absence of clear strategies with specific funds assigned to develop human resources in the field of education; 2) innovation and scientific research; the ministry and universities fail to allocate budgets; 3) the privilege of designing long-term strategies while under occupation; 4) the question of high community participation on empowerment policies and implementation mechanisms to realize  SDG 4, especially when a new law was decreed which lacked proactive participation of society, civil society and active sectors in this field.20

The PA’s education policies fail at meeting just education requirements, as a result of failing to face challenges imposed by Occupation and operating in a complex context. Also, the inadequacy that pertains to its policies and distribution priorities in order to minimize the gaps associated with overcrowding, drop-outs, care given to children with disabilities and appropriateness of schools, in addition to specific indicators, such as teacher/student ratios; here issues of exclusion, marginalization and absence of equality and parity arise.

There is evident deterioration in the quality of education, increase in drop-out numbers, and later lack of justice in the labour market. Not to mention the absence of clear government policies concerning promoting steadfastness of Jerusalemites, Bedouins and refugees.

Clean water and sanitation services

The water crisis is a serious issue in the occupied Palestinian territories in 1967, particularly as a result of the Occupation’s control of most groundwater sources. Despite connecting 96 percent of residential areas with public water distribution networks, we observe irregular water supply and access. As a result of these practices, most Palestinians are living on less than the minimum water consumption recommended by the World Health Organization, which is 120 liters per day per person, as the average Palestinian that is connected to distribution networks only consumes 70 liters per day. Also, the consumption might be less in some areas in the West Bank to reach 38 liters per day, as is the case in Jenin Governorate. Water consumption reaches 20 liters per day per person for Palestinian residing in residential in area ‘C’. Since the ‘Israeli’ aggression in 2014, water supply has become a central element in the Gaza Strip crisis; a population of 1.2 million in Gaza (around 2/3 of the residents) suffers from severe shortages of water, and there isn’t enough electricity for sewage processing or pumping. At the same time, the coastal aquifer, which supplies most of its water to Gaza, is subject to excessive pumping of three times its capacity, resulting in contamination with sea water and untreated sewage. Currently, 97 percent of the water withdrawn from the aquifer isn’t suitable for drinking, and only 10 percent of Palestinians residing in Gaza have access to safe drinking water.21

The problem lies with the logic of dealing with this issue of clean water and availability and right to access, which includes such ‘solutions’ as rationalizing the use of water and finding alternate water supplies – which are usually adequate for water resources sustainability – but do not address the root cause concerning lack of Palestinian control of water sources.  The international agencies’ tendency to promote rationalization of water use, while the individual’s consumption is much less than the minimum internationally recommended share is in fact ironic. As if this isn’t enough, higher prices for unavailable water were regulated, which further deteriorates economic and social conditions.22

It is worth mentioning that one of the implications of control of water resources is the transformation of Palestinian agricultural patterns. For instance, rain-fed agriculture has increased on account of irrigated agriculture, which threatens Palestinian food security. Also, transformations in agriculture patterns resulting from shifting to palm tree cultivation and increasing palm farms.23 Adding to that, the Paris Protocol for Economic Relations granted the joint committee (composed of Palestinian and Occupation representatives) authority to give consent to any planned water project in the occupied Palestinian territories in 1967, which led to rejecting these projects, due to the fact it requires final approval from the Occupation’s administration.

The Palestinian territories face a complex water crisis, as residents receive less water than the internationally recommended share and most Palestinians residing in the Gaza Strip consume contaminated water. Not to mention that the occupation controls most drinking water resources, ground wells and prevents any project from accessing water resources and prohibits well construction. Adding to that is the international projects’ focus on rationalization of water use and renovating water networks instead of addressing right to access drinking water.

Cities and sustainable communities: Is sustainability possible under occupation?

While SDG 11 aims at making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, the 2030 Agenda failed to mention independence and national liberation in order to reflect a context in which a society faces settler military occupation. This recognition is needed to relate SDG 11 to the singularity of the Palestinian context.

Residential communities are divided into urban, rural and refugee camps, also the occupied Palestinian territories in 1967 are divided into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Due to roads, checkpoints and the Apartheid Wall, the West Bank is fragmented into smaller lands and ghettos to which the Occupation controls all entrances and exits and affiliated security companies, not to mention that Jerusalem is completely separated from the West Bank and all types of connections were weakened between Palestinians residing in Jerusalem and those elsewhere.

The Gaza Strip has been under blockade for more than a decade. Despite its small area, the Israeli Occupation set up a buffer zone over more than 1,500 meters along its eastern border, thus controlling about 24 percent of the total area of Gaza Strip (365 km2). Additionally, Egypt’s continued closure of the Rafah Border Crossing – the only passageway between Gaza and Egypt – prevents patients, students, merchants from travelling anywhere. Besieged Gaza Strip suffers from the highest density of population in the world; 5,203 individuals/km2, and 66 percent of its total population are refugees. 24

Palestinian refugee camps were built to temporarily accommodate the Palestinians who fled from their homes, villages and cities when the ‘Israeli’ occupation took over the 1948 lands. However, after seven decades, these ‘temporary’ accommodations have become permanent residential areas--overcrowded, without any infrastructure, lack of sanitation networks, worn-out water and electricity networks, adhesion of residential buildings, which does not permit daylight and air.

UNRWA records for 1 January 2017 indicate a total of 5.87 million Palestinian refugees, 28.4 percent of whom live in 58 camps, 19 in the West Bank and 8 in the Gaza Strip.25

Jerusalem is under occupation and is separated and isolated from the rest of the West Bank cities. Also, Jerusalem is surrounded by a large number of military check points that facilitate ‘Israeli’ settlers’ access to the city while restricting Palestinians from reaching it. In 2017, the Israeli Occupation demolished 433 buildings (houses and establishments), 46 percent of them in Jerusalem; forcibly displacing 128 households (700 persons) in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, half of them children. They also issued demolition orders for 1,030 buildings in Jerusalem and the West Bank in 2017, at a time when the needs of housing units for Palestinians increase. According to housing conditions survey 2015 data, 61 percent of households in Palestine need to build new housing units over the next decade (one residential unit or more). The demolition of the buildings resulted in large economic losses with a value of about US$300 per square meters, meaning that the losses of Palestinians in Jerusalem amounted to about US$ 51 million during the years 2000-2017.26

At the same time as the Israeli Occupation demolishes Palestinian buildings, and put obstacles and impediments to the issuance of building permits, they approve licenses to construct thousands of housing units in Israeli settlements on the Palestinian land of Jerusalem. The Occupation began building 1,600 housing units in the settlements of Gilo and Harhoma during 2017 as part of a plan to separate the city of Jerusalem from the city of Bethlehem, and it accelerated plans for the construction of a new settlement on the Qalandia airport to isolate Jerusalem from its Arab surroundings from the North West side, in addition to the annexation of 250 dunams to the municipality of Jerusalem, which has been located within the so-called "no-man's land” since 1967 for the establishment of new settlements projects, as well as announcing a plan to build 6 hotels including 1,300 hotel rooms on the land of Jabal AL-Mukaber. In 2017, the Israeli occupation intensified settlement expansion in the West Bank, ratifying the construction of 16,800 new housing units, one third of which in Occupied Jerusalem. Furthermore, the Israeli occupation approved plans for the construction of four new settlements to the south of Nablus Governorate and three other in the Jordan Valley, with the objective of tripling the settlers’ population in the Jordan Valley. In the same time, the occupation authorities hinder any Palestinian construction expansion, especially in the areas in and around Jerusalem and in the so-called area ‘C’ in the West Bank.27

The policy of annexation and isolation of Palestinian communities derives its strength from the military orders that exploit the Palestinians and confiscate their lands. The Israeli occupation approved the confiscation of about 2,100 dunams of Palestinian land during 2017, as well as the confiscation of hundreds of dunams through the expansion of Israeli roadblocks and the establishment of military checkpoints to protect the settlers, in addition to renewed orders to seize 852 dunams of Palestinian land in the West Bank. The Israeli measures are one of the main reasons for the decline in agricultural land in the West Bank. Area ‘C’ forms about 60 percent of the West Bank, which is still under full ‘Israeli’ control, depriving many farmers from accessing and farming their land. The Israeli Occupation razed and uprooted about 10,000 trees in 2017, and thousands of dunams were transferred to ‘Israeli’ settlers to cultivate more than 70,000 dunams with irrigated crops.

While the Palestinian Authority has no housing-oriented programme, particularly housing for poor and middle classes and young people planning to start a family. This is completely left to contractors and high market prices, where the price of one square meter in the Governorate of Ramallah and Al-Bireh is between US$1,000 and US$1,500, beyond the purchasing power of most mentioned classes in light of unemployment, poverty and low income. Not to mention that the Palestinian Authority doesn’t play a regulatory role concerning housing prices, or organizing the housing sector to truly respond to increased demand, particularly in light of overcrowding in the centres of Palestinian cities due to the Apartheid Wall and limited access to area ‘C’.

Administration of the Palestinian refugee camps falls under the responsibility of UNRWA, and the Palestinian Authority doesn’t develop any infrastructure, or water and electricity networks, despite its poor quality and the fact they collect direct and indirect taxes from Palestinian refugees.28 Not to mention that the refugee camps suffer from overcrowding and hazardous buildings due to lack of adequate infrastructure criteria.

The Palestinian cities and built-up areas suffer from Occupation policies that work on demolition, confiscation, fragmentation, and isolation. Jerusalem as well suffers from demolition and continuing Judaization, and stealing and appropriating Palestinian culture.  Vast areas of the West Bank are under direct military control. According to international reports the Gaza Strip became inhabitable due to the continued blockade.29

Towards the Future

The future of the Palestinians lies in emancipation from ‘Israeli’ occupation, sovereignty over their lands, and controlling their capabilities and natural resources.  Despite the shortcomings of the 2030 Agenda in dealing with issues of self-determination, national liberation and independence; SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions and SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities provide grounds for the international community to advocate for Palestinians’ right to realize their national goals and mostly the elimination of settler occupation. This will contribute to building prospects and hope for future generations, not to mention realizing development, prosperity and to live in dignity and freedom.

Increasing investment in education is of vital importance, for instance, increasing budget allocations from 20 percent to 25 percent, permitting an increase of 5 percent of 2018 public expenditure to development aspects of education, as the budget allocated for the Ministry of Education and Higher Education amounts to US$ 855 million and the additional cost will reach US$43 million. Investment in education will meet society’s needs and positively contribute to integrating children with disabilities in formal education, and eradicating unemployment among Palestinian university graduates.30 Quality education will present better opportunities and human resources capable of innovation and creativity.

Resolving the issue of unemployment requires a package of solutions, primarily lifting the siege of the Gaza Strip and opening all crossings, so citizens can travel and basic supplies can be provided. Also, one of the ways to eliminate poverty is to encourage the cash transfer project to develop programmes to activate the Palestinian Fund for Employment and Social Protection, so it won’t be dependent on assistance, grants and foreign loans that are declining each year.  It would be more feasible to allocate greater public expenditure to support the Fund and outline interventions concerning job creation and employment. This could be done by allocating 2 percent of public expenditure, that is, around 14 billion ILS and annually add a total of 280 million ILS to the budget for employment to create job opportunities.31

Palestinian taxation is completely subordinated to a current and inherited colonial taxation scheme. Due to the clearance bill mechanisms,32 losses of Palestinians amount to US$ 370 million annually in fiscal leakages. Also, the Ministry of Finance appraises the size of tax evasion and fraud at US$500-600 million. Eliminating these practices would mean that Palestinians could renounce foreign funding and locate surpluses to increase expenditure on health, education, employment and developing production sectors; this will be attained when national development policies are adequately designed.


1 This report was translated by: Kifah Zuhour – Programme Officer

2 UNCTAD, “The Economic Costs of the Israeli Occupation for the Palestinian People and their Human Right to Development: Legal Dimensions,” Geneva, 2018.

3 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Poverty Profile in Palestine 2017, available at:

4 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Press Release Ms. Ola Awad, President of the PCBS, reviews the conditions of the Palestinian people via statistical figures and findings, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. 14 May 2018.

5 Palestinian Ministerial Council. Ministerial Council Meeting, available at:

6 Ayman Sawalha. Workshop: Palestine under Occupation: Is 2030 agenda possible. 3 May 2018, Ramallah: Social and Economic Policies Monitor (Al Marsad)

7 ILS to US dollar ratio is 3:6

8 Voluntary National Review of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Implementation. Draft I. Palestine

9 Palestinian Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). Press Release “On the Eve of May 1st President of PCBS Ms. Ola Awad, presents the current status of Palestinian labour force on the occasion of International Workers’ Day.

10 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.  Labour Force Survey Results Fourth Quarter (January– March, 2018)

11 PCBS. 2015. Palestinian Youth Survey: Main Findings. Ramallah - Palestine

12 F. Jaber and I. Riyah, Informal Economy in Palestine: Arab Watch Report on Social and Economic Rights and Policies; Informal Labour, Beirut; 2016.

13 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.  The Labour Force Survey Results Fourth Quarter (January– March, 2018)

14 PCBS, Previous Source

15 Adel Zagha. Birzeit University. Link:

17 Social and Economic Policies Monitor (Al Marsad). Teacher Creativity Center (TCC). 2018. Equality and Quality of Education, unpublished paper.

18 Ibid.

19 Ibid.

20 Mutasim Zayed. Workshop: Palestine Under Occupation: is the 2030 Agenda possible? 3 May 2018, Ramallah: Social and Economic Policies Monitor (Al Marsad)

21 Voluntary National Review on 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Implementation. Draft I. Palestine.

22 An interview with Manal Taha, Environmental expert. 17/5/2018

23 Ibid.

24 Palestinian Bureau of Statistics Press Release “Ms. Ola Awad, President of the PCBS, reviews the conditions of the Palestinian people via statistical figures and findings, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba.”

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid.

27 Ibid.

28 Social and Economic Policies Monitor (Al Marsad), available at:

29 Maan News Network. Report. The Gaza Strip is ‘inhabitable in 2020’?  available at:

30 Iyad Riyahi. Workshop: Palestine under occupation: is 2030 agenda possible?. May 3, 2018. Ramallah: Social and Economic Policies Monitor (Al Marsad)

31 Ibid.

32 Clearance bill is the Value Added Tax (VAT) collected by tax authorities from the Palestinian private sector. This bill includes purchase taxes and the cost of the imported goods at the port of arrival. VAT revenues are transferred on monthly basis Palestinian National Authority as per agreed upon clearance mechanism. Income taxes paid by Palestinian workers employed inside the Green Line and settlements, together with tax collections, represent the major fiscal revenue of the Palestinian treasury (Public Budget).