"The World Bank warned today that continued Israeli economic restrictions are severely limiting the potential of the Palestinian economy and leaving Palestinians more dependent on foreign aid than ever.
In a report to be delivered to international donor governments this month, the World Bank acknowledges that Israel has lifted some roadblocks in the occupied West Bank but it says the impact is limited. It says continued discussions about removing individual checkpoints and roadblocks have become a "distraction" from the bigger issues.
The International Monetary Fund says the Palestinian economy shrunk by 0.5% last year and will grow by only 0.8% in 2008, a long way short of the Palestinian Authority's own forecast. It says there was a clear lack of investment and some industries have been badly hit: the construction industry is now less than a fifth the size it was in 1999. Foreign aid has become ever more important: this year the Palestinians will require around $1.9bn in budget support, equivalent to nearly a third of their gross domestic product."