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Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 05:40 GMT 06:40 UK
Israeli economy hit by troubles

A report just out in Israel says that the past eight months of violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians has cost Israel's economy $2bn.

The report, by Israel's Chamber of Commerce, says that the troubles have negated much of the country's recent economic growth.

There had been a sharp decline in exports, construction and tourism.

The report says that road closures by the Israeli army in the West Bank and Gaza Strip had kept about 100,000 Palestinians from reaching their jobs in Israel, hitting the construction and agricultural sectors.

The report says that damage to the much smaller Palestinian economy had been much more severe.

The Palestinain finance minister said in April that losses in trade and wages totalled $20bn.

The United Nations has put the daily Palestinian losses at more than $8.5m.

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