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Are Palestinian Industrial Parks Illusion or Real Development?

While the Palestinian Authority and others push plans for West Bank industrial parks, critics say the projects give the illusion of economic growth while entrenching Israeli occupation.
A Palestinian worker organizes containers of green wheat, also know as Freekeh, that are meant for export, at a factory in the West Bank village of Ajja village near Jenin August 25, 2009. The economy of the West Bank and Gaza is forecast by the World Bank to grow by 5 percent this year, 6.5 percent in 2010 and 7.5 percent in 2011. Picture taken August 25, 2009. To match feature PALESTINIANS/ECONOMY 
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RAMALLAH, West Bank — While the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its international donors move forward with plans to build industrial parks in the West Bank, critics say the projects undermine real economic development and dangerously cement Israel’s control over Palestinian lives.

The idea of establishing industrial zones in the occupied Palestinian territories took off shortly after the creation of the PA itself in the early 1990s. Today, there are three Palestinian industrial zones under construction in the occupied West Bank near Bethlehem, Jericho and Jenin.

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