By Abid Aslam
"WASHINGTON, Oct 23 (IPS) - The West Bank's economy continues to gasp for air despite increased international aid mainly because Israel keeps the Palestinian territory in a stranglehold, says the World Bank.
Israel's illegal settlements, security cordons, and hundreds of roadblocks pose the most significant obstacle to the movement of people and goods, the Washington-based bank says in a new assessment. Violence and vandalism by Israeli settlers further deters investment, it adds.
Palestinians' per capita gross domestic product (GDP, a measure of economic output) fell by 40 percent between 1999 and 2007. Investment has plummeted to "precariously low levels". Public investment has virtually dried up over the past two years and private investment has stagnated since falling 15 percent between 2005 and 2006...."