The Palestinian Territories experience high levels of unemployment, food insecurity and aid dependency. Around 26 per cent of Palestinians were out of work in 2013 (up from 23 per cent in 2012)1 and over a third of Palestinians, 1.57 million people, cannot meet basic food needs. Without aid, an additional 185,000 people, half of them children, would be food insecure2. Humanitarian and economic conditions are particularly dire in the Gaza strip, where unemployment has reached 40 per cent and well over half of Gaza’s youth are out of work.
Hebron, Haya, a blind girl, singing a song at the celebration of the newly built WASH facilities at her school (credit: Ahed Izhiman).
An economically viable and stable Palestinian entity is essential to any durable, two-state solution to the
Israel–Palestinian issue. Australian aid supports Palestinian economic growth and governance reform as well as helping to meet humanitarian needs. Through support in effective governance to the Palestinian Authority, Australia is leveraging funding with the World Bank and major donors to influence policy and regulatory reform—particularly in fiscal management—that helps create jobs, encourage investment and maintain basic services. Scholarships to Australian universities are helping future leaders from the Palestinian Authority and emerging legal academics acquire key skills for state-building. Our engagement with entrepreneurial small businesses and NGOs is helping to introduce more efficient practices into the much-neglected agricultural sector and link small scale farmers to domestic and international markets. Through a focus on the role of women, our civil society and education programmes are helping to raise the average income and the socio-economic status of women and girls. Our funding and policy engagement with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) helps it meet the basic health, education and social protection needs of almost five million Palestinian refugees.
Archived details of expenditure for this program for 2013–14 can be found here.
Archived details of expenditure for DFAT’s aid program, following the Government’s announcement on 18 January 2014 to revise the aid budget, can be found here.
1 Between a rock and a hard place—Recent Economic Developments in the Palestinian Economy (February 19, 2014), IMF.
2 Socio-Economic & Food Security Survey 2012, West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestine, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the World Food Programme (WFP), September 2013.