General view of one of the churches in Bethlehem that was absent from decorations despite the approach of Christmas (Anadolu Agency)

The Palestinian Ministry of National Economy said that the Bethlehem governorate (southern West Bank) has suffered economic losses estimated at millions of shekels in various sectors, especially the tourism sector, since the start of the aggression on the Gaza Strip, on the seventh of last October, due to the closures and continuous incursions.

In a statement seen by Al Jazeera Net, the ministry's directorate in Bethlehem said that the Council of Churches decided to ban Christmas celebrations this year, and limited it only to official ceremonies in Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour.

She explained that the tourism sector was 100% affected, which led to the closure of restaurants and the disruption of tourist hotels, and the size of tourism losses to the province was recorded in millions of shekels.

In the context of economic sectors, Mohammed Hamida, Deputy Director of the Directorate of Economy in Bethlehem Governorate, said that the production capacity of industrial facilities in the governorate decreased by 40%, and the stone and sawmills sector recorded a decrease of 60%.

He added that the commercial services sector was also affected by 60%, and that revenues in all sectors decreased by 70%, and that the import and export movement decreased, as the import movement recorded a decrease by 50% and the export movement by 62%.

In the agricultural sector, Hamida said that this sector has been severely affected as a result of the occupation preventing citizens from entering their lands to harvest olives, as dozens of farmers have not been able to harvest olives so far, and farmers have been affected as a result of their inability to access their lands to cultivate them.

As for the ongoing incursions of the occupation into the governorate, large property losses were recorded, including: the closure of two printing presses in the governorate, the destruction of their contents and the seizure of them.

Hamida added that these raids recorded losses in citizens' homes, estimated at thousands of shekels as a result of smashing or blowing them up.

He reported that the occupation forces are breaking citizens' cars and stealing their parts in Beit Jala, which is 10 km from the occupied city of Jerusalem.

Israeli incursions into the West Bank have disrupted many economic sectors (Reuters)

85% decline

At the end of last month, data from the Palestinian Ministry of Economy revealed a decline in the performance of 85% of economic establishments as a result of the continuous incursions and incursions carried out by the Israeli occupation in Palestinian cities, camps and towns.

The ministry's Economic Monitor showed a decline in the average number of employees in 41% of economic establishments in the West Bank as a result of the economic deterioration in various sectors of the economy against the backdrop of the repercussions of the ongoing Israeli aggression, with the almost complete cessation of production in the Gaza Strip.

According to the data, most establishments witnessed a decline in monthly working days by an average of 36% to 42%, while the production capacity of 91% of industrial establishments deteriorated by an average of 43%.

According to the Economic Observatory, 77% of establishments suffer from difficulty in moving and distributing goods between cities as a result of the incursions and closures carried out by the Israeli occupation, while 16% of establishments were forced to close completely or partially, in addition to the decline in monthly sales of 97% of establishments.

The Observatory also showed a decline in the Jerusalem index by 11.4% since the beginning of the war on Gaza, compared to an increase of 2.3% recorded from the beginning of the year until the sixth of last October.

The data showed that the industrial sector was the most affected as a result of the occupation violations in the northern governorates after the war on Gaza, where 91% of establishments indicated an average decline in their production capacity by 43%, and the services sector is one of the sectors whose performance declined clearly after the war, as 63% of establishments indicated an average decline in the number of employees by 62%.

Source : Al Jazeera