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IMF urges Israel to lift restrictions on Palestinian economy

July 4, 2014 10:22 A.M. (Updated: July 5, 2014 9:56 A.M.)
WASHINGTON (AFP) -- The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said the economy in the West Bank and Gaza is weakening and urged Israel to lift restrictions on the Palestinians.

After briefing the international donor community and the Palestinian Authority, IMF mission chief Christoph Duenwald said in a statement that the authority is "doing a commendable job" managing the economy in difficult circumstances.

He said the global donor community needed to step up to help fill a "sizable" financing gap this year for the authority.

"Against the background of rising political uncertainty, the economy of the West Bank and Gaza is weakening," he said.

"Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, currently at 43 percent, continues to rise from already high levels," he added.

"Continued donor support is vital at this time, as is a comprehensive easing of Israeli restrictions to underpin the Palestinian reform efforts."

According to a February forecast, the IMF saw the economy in the West Bank and Gaza growing 2.5 percent this year, up from 1.5 percent in 2013.
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