On top of striking civilian shelters, the Occupation attacked a public water tank that supplied several neighborhoods in the city of Rafah last week.
At least 61% of employment, equivalent to a staggering 182,000 jobs, has been lost in Gaza as Israel has continued to pound the besieged enclave for an entire month, an International Labour Organization report said, highlighting the devastating long-term impact of the deadly war.
The UN agency said Israel’s brutal campaign has also seeped into the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank where 24% of employment, equivalent to 208,000 jobs, has also vanished during the same period.
The combined loss of 390,000 jobs in these two areas that make up the Occupied Palestinian Territory translates into a daily loss of labour income amounting to a staggering $16 million.
The dire situation is expected to escalate as Israel continues to unleash one of history’s worst bombardments and attacks on Gaza, which has killed more than 10,000 people in one month.
The report highlights that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has not only taken thousands of lives and threatened basic needs but also represents a severe social and economic crisis with long-lasting implications for jobs and businesses.
Entire neighbourhoods in Gaza have been reduced to rubble, infrastructure is severely damaged, businesses have shut down, and more than one million have been forcibly displaced across the enclave.
Israel’s block on electricity and water, coupled with the regime’s enabling of limited food access for Palestinians, is further crippling economic activity.
On top of striking civilian shelters, the occupying force has also attacked a public water tank that supplied several neighbourhoods in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip last week, despite forcing Palestinians to flee from the north to the south where the Israeli military claimed would be a safe zone.
Even before the devastation of the current war, Gaza was already grappling with dire conditions.
The besieged enclave was plagued with high rates of poverty, vulnerability, and one of the world’s highest unemployment rates at 46.4% in the second quarter of 2023.
“Our initial assessment of the repercussions of the tragic current crisis on the Palestinian labour market have yielded extremely worrying results, which will only worsen if the conflict continues,” said ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat.
“The ongoing hostilities not only represent an enormous humanitarian crisis in terms of loss of lives and basic human needs, they also represent a social and economic crisis which has caused vast damage to jobs and businesses, with reverberations that will be felt for many years to come.”
Echoing the call by the ILO Governing Body, Jaradat called for international cooperation and urged for swift, safe, and unrestricted humanitarian access to Gaza in line with international humanitarian law to provide essential aid to civilians.
“We are working tirelessly with government, worker and employer partners, other UN agencies and humanitarian actors to provide immediate assistance to impacted workers and businesses. We will also support them in the longer term towards collecting vital labour market information and recovering jobs and enterprises, combined with social protection initiatives, to the utmost extent of our mandate,” she added.
The ILO said it has a three-phase plan to address the Palestinian labour market crisis: immediate relief for workers, data analysis for intervention planning, and job creation through recovery efforts. It is also launching a $20 million appeal to fund this plan during a meeting with development partners at the Governing Body’s 349th Session.
The reports comes as Qatar’s labour minister urged the ILO last week to adopt a staunch stance against the ever-escalating Israeli war on Gaza.
Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri also issued a call to international labour unions and organisations to condemn the grave violations inflicted on Palestinian workers, which have led to the loss of both lives and jobs, alongside the targeted obliteration of infrastructure.
At least 10,022 Palestinians, including 4,104 children have been killed in the beseiged Gaza Strip since 7 October.