By Peter Kenny
GENEVA (AA) - A UN report found that the fiscal cost of Israeli occupation for the Palestinian people in 2000-2017 period is estimated at $47.7 billion, or three times the size of the Palestinian economy in 2017.
Mutasim Elagraa, an economist with the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), discussed the report Monday at a news conference in Geneva.
"In the last decade, several UNCTAD studies and reports have addressed the Palestinian fiscal leakage to Israel," said Elagraa.
The report -- entitled Economic cost of the Israeli occupation for the Palestinian people: Fiscal aspects -- will be presented to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
"This fiscal leakage prompted other international organizations to bring this issue into question, which helped in retroactively retrieving part of the fiscal resources of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) from Israel," he said.
The economist said the estimate comprises lost public revenues and interest payments.
According to the report, it includes $28.2 billion in estimated accrued interest and $6.6 billion of leaked Palestinian fiscal revenues to Israel, and the amount continues to rise.
"This estimated cumulative fiscal cost of occupation by Israel would not only have eliminated the Palestinian budget deficit estimated at 17.7 billion U.S. dollars during the same period. It would have also generated a surplus nearly twice the size of the deficit," Elagraa said.
Alternatively, it would have increased more than tenfold the Palestinian government's development spending, pegged at $4.5 billion during the period under review, according to the report.