Poverty rules

Despite constant claims that Israel is a thriving democracy in the heart of the Middle East, the country is in fact in decline:

A quarter of Israel’s citizens are poor, according to the National Insurance Institute (NII) poverty report released yesterday. In spite of the growth of the economy over the past year, almost 46,000 Israelis, half of them children, have joined the ranks of the poor this past year. The number of people living below the poverty line in the first half of 2005 reached 1.58 million including 738,000 children.

Exact costings for the occupation are impossible to source, but a recent report from Oxfam suggested the profound cost of maintaining and increasing the stranglehold over the Palestinians.