Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs..
05 November '15..
...The Other Side of the West Bank Palestinian Story
There is more to this story, a side often overlooked. In communities throughout the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, a surprising degree of luxury exists alongside the poverty. After receiving billions of dollars in Western aid over many decades, major improvements are visible in the standard of living in the West Bank, as seen in newly-constructed buildings, late-model cars, and luxury items.
This study offers an often overlooked window into life in the Palestinian Authority. The empirical data, together with the photographic evidence sourced here, provide a more complete picture of living standards in the West Bank. The truth is that alongside the slums of the old refugee camps, which the Palestinian government has done little to rehabilitate, a parallel Palestinian society is emerging.
Marwan Asmar, a Jordan-based journalist with a PhD in political science from Leeds University in the UK, described this phenomenon upon returning to the West Bank after 30 years:
There has been a total transformation since I was last in Howara in the West Bank in 1985. One can see a buzz of activity at the shops, restaurants, offices and cafes. This wasn’t the sleepy village I saw long ago. Buildings, villas, mosques and rest areas have been constructed everywhere. There is even a swimming pool.
This was certainly not the picture I had in mind. This was not the picture the media presents – of Palestinians surviving on daily wages of $2 as pointed out by the World Bank, of high unemployment and pockets of poverty. The people I spoke to here said many worked as laborers in Israel and were paid high daily wages. This is how they could build their houses, they told me.
(Click here to read the full study)