Palestine Economy Sectors

During the years of the complete Israeli occupation, the Palestinian economy was purely a subcontractor for Israel; there was no independent economic development. Even after the creation of the Palestinian Authority, economic development remained dependent on Israel.

Estimated GDP: US $ 16.4 billion (2019)

Per capita income (purchasing power parity): US $ 6,740 (2019)

Human Development Rank (HDI): 119 (of 189) (2019)

Proportion of poverty (national poverty line): 29.2% (2017)

Distribution of income (Gini coefficient): No data available

Economic Transformation Index (BTI): No data available


According to PETSINCLUDE, the service sector remains the most important employer in Palestine. In the third quarter of 2020, 35.4% of all employees worked here (28.0% of all employees in the West Bank and 59.4% of all employees in the Gaza Strip.

Construction industry

In the third quarter of 2020, 17.6% of all employees worked in the construction industry (59.0% of all employees in Israel and the Israeli territories, 3.0% of all employees in the Gaza Strip and 13.7% of all employees in the West Bank).

Wholesale and retail

The trade sector suffers from Israeli control over the movement of goods and services, weak export capacity due to an underdeveloped industrial base, lack of natural resources, relatively high wages and Israeli lockdown policies.

In March 2020, 82% of all exports for a total of 66.3 million US dollars went to Israel and 53% of all imports for a total of 401.6 million US dollars came from Israel. The net trade deficit was accordingly $ 335.3 million. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, exports decreased by 17% in March 2020 compared to the previous month and by 29% compared to March 2019.

The most important export goods include building blocks and cement, base metals, iron and steel, plastics, wood and charcoal, tobacco, fats and oils, and vegetables.

Major import items include petroleum / fuel, machinery, vehicles, metals, chemicals, farm animals, food and beverages, and pet food.

Mining and manufacturing

The vast majority of businesses in Palestine are small sub- take with up to four employees (about 89%). Medium-sized companies with 5-19 employees make up around 10% of all companies. About 1.4% of the companies have more than 20 employees.

Important sectors are the stone and marble industry, the glass and ceramic industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the clothing and textile sector and the food industry. Soap has also been handcrafted in Nablus since the 14th century.

In the third quarter of 2020, a total of 13.0% of all employees worked in this area (13.4% of all employees in Israel and the Israeli settlements, 5.4% of all employees in the Gaza Strip and 15.8% of all employees in the West Bank).

Palestine Mining

Public administration and security

In the second quarter of 2019, 20.5% (in the West Bank 15.0% and in the Gaza Strip 36.8%) of all employees were in the public sector. The public administration is thus the largest employer in the Gaza Strip. Public administration also accounts for the largest share of Gaza’s GDP.

Transportation, warehousing and communication

In the 3rd quarter of 2020, 6.0% of all employees (2.8% of all employees in Israel and the Israeli settlements, 6.2% of all employees in the West Bank and 7.5% of all employees in the Gaza Strip) were in the transportation, warehousing and storage sectors Busy communication.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

Palestinian agriculture suffers from a lack of water, deterioration in water quality, limited access to agricultural land, restrictions on the marketing of agricultural products, the confiscation of land and water by the Israeli authorities and the appropriation of water sources, destruction and burning of olive trees and grapevines and fields by Israeli settlers. In the Gaza Strip, half of the cultivable area and large parts of the fish stocks are inaccessible.

The main crops of Palestinian agriculture are olives, grapes, almonds and citrus fruits, with the olive trees well ahead. 48% of the cultivated land is planted with around 8 million olive trees. They generate 14% of the agricultural income and contribute to the livelihood of around 80,000 families. Tobacco, wheat, barley, clover, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, beans, pumpkins, avocados and mushrooms are also grown.

Sheep, goats, bees, poultry, cattle and ostriches are also kept.

In the third quarter of 2020, 5.8% of all workers over 14 years of age in Palestine were employed in agriculture (4.9% in Israel and the Israeli settlements, 6.6% in the West Bank and 4.2% in the Gaza Strip).

Agricultural workers receive some of the lowest wages in Palestine: in the 3rd quarter of 2020 they averaged 94.6 shekels (equivalent to 23.68 €) per day, 112.4 NIS (approx. 28.14 €) in West Bank, NIS 19.3 (approx. € 4.83) in the Gaza Strip and 156.6 shekels (approx. € 39.21) in Israel and the Israeli settlements.