Agriculture in the Palestinian territories
Agriculture in the Palestinian territories is a mainstay in the economy of the Palestinian territories. The production of agricultural goods supports the population's sustenance needs and fuels Palestine's export economy. According to the Council for European Palestinian Relations, the agricultural sector formally employs 13.4% of the population and informally employs 90% of the population. Over the past 10 years, unemployment rates in Palestine have increased and the agricultural sector became the most impoverished sector in Palestine. Unemployment rates peaked in 2008 when they reached 41% in Gaza.
Palestinian agriculture suffers from numerous problems including Israeli military and civilian attacks on farms and farmers, blockades to exportation of produce and importation of necessary inputs, widespread confiscation of land for nature reserves as well as military and settler use, confiscation and destruction of wells, and physical barriers within the West Bank. Because the root of the conflict is with land, the disputes between Israel and Palestine are well-manifested in the agriculture of Palestine.
After the Six Day War (1967), Israel's initial occupation of the West Bank led to an encouragement of agriculture. Moshe Dayan actively encouraged its expansion, and as a result agricultural productivity increased on an annual basis by 16%. Permission was extended to expand on land that had hitherto been neglected. A change in policy occurred in 1976, and by 1979, when the new Likud government was in power, incentives for Palestinian agriculture stopped. The government considered local agriculture a hindrance to its aim of annexing uncultivated land. As a result, water quotas for Paleestinian farmers were incrementally reduced, forcing cultivators to leave their lands and seek jobs as day labourers in Israel. The end effect of this decision was that by 1985, the land under Palestinian cultivation in the West Bank decreased by 40%. Extensive pine forests to create 'green areas' were also created by Israel, pines being selected because their acidic needles render the land infertile, destroying undergrowth, and making the land unusable for Palestinian shepherd pastoralists.
- "Agriculture in Palestine: a post-Oslo Analysis" (PDF). 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Poverty and the Labor Market: A Sheer Lack of Jobs?". Coping with Conflict: Poverty and Inclusion in the West Bank and Gaza (PDF). pp. 37–61. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
- "Palestinians lose billions to Israeli land bans, says World Bank report". The National. October 8, 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
- Eyal Weizman,Hollow Land: Israel's Architecture of Occupation, Verso Books 2012 p.120.
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