A study conducted by the Near-East Counseling Institution revealed that
71% of the Palestinian refugees are living in extreme poverty; the
remaining 29% of the refugees are poor.
Jamil Rabah, head of the Institution, said in a press conference in Ramallah that poverty levels among the refugees had increased by 18% within the last seven months. Poverty percentage among the refugees was 53% last March.
Rabah added that 45% of the refugees used to depend on their salaries as their main source of livelihood, 28% had small private businesses and 6% depend on support from relatives.
43% of the refugees who are supporting their families are still working, 33% have no salaries, 7% totally lost their jobs, 4% are dead, detained, or sick, and 1% found new jobs.
Also, the study revealed that 66% of the Palestinians who are not refugees are also living below poverty line.
Ahmad Hannoun, the general coordinator of the institution said that refugee camps did not expand since they were built, and that they are subjected to fierce Israeli attacks that brought destruction to thousands of houses, especially in the Gaza Strip.
Moreover, Dr. Sameer Abdullah, head of the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute, said that the refugees have always been living in extreme poverty, and that the Israeli attacks and the siege had worsened the situation.
He added that the Israeli policies aim at increasing poverty levels among the internally displaced refugees in order to force them out of the country.
Abdullah also said that refugees depend on paid work outside of the camps as the main source of livelihood; they have no property or other sources of livelihood.