Numerous challenges affect the Palestinian economy due to the coronavirus

Closed shops in an empty street after a curfew was announced as a measure against coronavirus, Nablus 23 March 2020

Adnan Abu Amer reports in Middle East Monitor:

The PA announced the implementation of the provisions of the emergency budget and focused spending priorities in the coming period on several items, especially helping the poor, supporting health care, providing employee salaries and security needs. This is despite the fact that the PA needs $120 million to confront the coronavirus crisis and its budget deficit may reach $3 billion, with the decline in domestic revenues by 50 per cent. This increases the probability of it resorting to borrowing, after the Palestinian economy lost $3.5 billion because of the crisis.

With the coronavirus pandemic crisis entering its third month in the Palestinian territories, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced that the Palestinian economy will incur an estimated loss of $2.5 billion if the pandemic continues for another three months and the situation gradually returns to what it was before the crisis. It is also expected that the GDP will decrease by 14 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019.

These statistics reveal that the Palestinian economy is facing a number of difficult scenarios related to the continued impact of the crisis resulting from Covid-19. This is especially after declaring a state of emergency in the West Bank, restricting movement between the Palestinian governorates and cities and decisions issued by the Palestinian government regarding the return of Palestinian workers from inside Israel to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, given the fact that the coronavirus has spread greatly amongst the Israeli occupation.

It is difficult to discuss the effects of the coronavirus on the Palestinian economy, without acknowledging the fact that this economy is facing challenges that have caused a set of political and economic crises and shocks over the past years. The most recent of these crises was the Palestinian tax revenue crisis with Israel in 2019.

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