VANGUARD - Expressing the viewpoint of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
For National Independence and Socialism •


Imperialism and the Israeli state condemned Palestinians to poverty.

In his book Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine, Jeff Halper provides readers with an insight into how imperialism and the Israeli state imposed their neo-liberal economic policies on the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) to impoverish the Palestinian people.

Harper says that the foundation of neoliberal control was the Paris Protocol of 1994 which gave Israel control over Palestinians and customs and trade, two thirds of the Palestinian Authority's revenue and 40% of its spending. Israel since then controlled all the points of entry into Palestinian territory giving it power over Palestinian imports and exports.

Even worse, the imperialist backed Paris Protocol gave Israel control over the licensing of both industrial and commercial Palestinian enterprises, plus control over shipping and insurance agents that Palestinian businesses had to use.

By 2021 manufacturing owned by Palestinians had declined to 10% of the economy and 90% of industrial enterprises in the Occupied Territories employed less than five people. 

Neoliberal "reforms" prioritized the West Bank over Gaza under attempts by Israel and western powers led by the USA and supported by the Australian Government to isolate Hamas which in 2006 was the elected government of Gaza. Israel expanded industrial zones attached to their expanding settlements on Occupied Land and used cheap Palestinian labour to serve Israeli owned businesses.

Over time, the Occupied Palestinian Territories’ economies became co-opted in to Israel's "free market" economy, itself dependent on imperialist finance capital.

By 2021 less than 1% of so-called 'development funds' from the West via Israel into the Palestinian Occupied Territories economies went to agriculture.

By 2018 unemployment in the West Bank was 31%. In Gaza unemployment was a staggering 52%!

70% of Palestinians in 2018 lived on less than $2 per day. 

60% of Palestinian imports are from Israel and 80% of its exports go to Israel. So not only has Israel backed by the western powers de-developed the Palestinian Territories’ economies (that have never been strong in any event) but made them dependent on Israel.

The Israeli economy in 2021 was 60 times the size of the economies of West Bank and Gaza and with more and more land disappearing through illegal Israeli settlements, the situation in 2023 was even worse.

It is in this economic context of deliberate economic impoverishment that Hamas launched its attack on Israeli settlements north of Gaza.