Israeli-Palestinian peace means boon for their economies: Study

Jerusalem, June 9 (IANS) A peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians based on the two-state solution would boost their economies by more than $150 billion, a new study by a US-based think tank revealed on Monday.

The study, conducted by researchers from the Rand Corporation, an American think tank developing solutions for public policy challenges for a safer world, found that Israel would gain $123 billion and the Palestinian Authority would garner $50 billion by ending the conflict.

“A two-state solution provides by far the best economic outcomes for both Israelis and Palestinians,” said the study, which was presented in Jerusalem by Charles Ries, vice president of the Rand Cooperation, adding that returning to violence would have “profoundly negative effects” for both Israelis and Palestinians.

The Palestinians would gain more money proportionately, the study said, with an expected increase of the average per-capita income by 36 percent over what it would have been in 2024, while Israel would enjoy an increase of five percent to the average per-capita income, Xinhua reported.

While these statistics refer to a peace treaty based on a two-state solution, another scenario in which Israel unilaterally withdraws from the West Bank territories would end up costing Israel.

“Unilateral withdrawal by Israel from the West Bank would impose larger economic costs on Israelis, unless the international community shoulders a substantial portion of the costs of relocating settlers,” the study said.

In order to realise the economic opportunities of the two-state solution, the international community would have to invest funds, both within the public and private sectors, it added.

After decades of conflict, Israel and the Palestinians signed an initial peace treaty known as the Oslo Accords in 1993, an interim agreement setting the groundwork for a future agreement to end the conflict and enable the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Since then several rounds of peace talks have taken place, yet without any results. The last round took place between July 2013 and April 2014, negotiated by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

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