Bank of Israel estimates cost of Hamas war — RT World News

Israel’s war on Hamas will cost the country $53 billion and hamper economic growth until 2024, according to figures published by the Bank of Israel on Monday. The fighting has temporarily stopped since the truce took effect on Friday, but the Israeli army is expected to resume operations in Gaza this week.

The bank stated that direct military spending will constitute $29 billion out of a total of $53 billion, adding that this figure includes military aid provided by the United States. Compensation for damages will reach $6 billion, while other civil expenses will reach $6.75 billion. Lost tax revenues and interest on government debt will make up the rest.

The bank warned that the war would also stifle economic growth in Israel. Growth will remain at 2% for the rest of the year and into 2024, down from previous forecasts of 2.3% and 2.8%, respectively.

The bank indicated that the war will lead to a loss of about 3% of the gross domestic product by the end of 2024, pointing out the closure of companies and educational institutions during the hostilities.

The war began on October 7 when Hamas militants launched a surprise rocket and missile attack on Israeli cities, before streaming across the Gaza-Israel border and occupying nearby Israeli towns and settlements. Israel responded with an intense campaign of aerial bombardment, followed by a ground invasion of the Palestinian enclave at the end of the month.

More than 1,200 people have been killed in Israel and another 15,000 have lost their lives in Gaza, according to the latest figures from the Israeli military and the Gaza Ministry of Health. The truce went into effect on Friday, and was extended for another 48 hours on Monday, to allow for the exchange of Israeli hostages in Gaza and Palestinian prisoners – some of whom are being held without charge – in Israeli prisons.

So far, Hamas has released 40 out of about 240 hostages, in exchange for the release of 117 Palestinian prisoners. Israeli officials have said they may extend the truce for every 10 additional hostages released, although Defense Minister Yoav Galant said on Monday that the IDF operation would resume once the truce ended, and would continue until Hamas was destroyed.

Although the war costs Israel about $270 million a day and reduces the country’s gross domestic product, its impact on Gaza’s fragile economy has been much more noticeable. Nearly half of the Strip’s buildings have been destroyed and nearly 400,000 jobs have been lost, according to UN reports. With poverty rates expected to rise by nearly 45% if fighting continues into December, the United Nations Development Program warned earlier this month that the war would set back development in Gaza for 16 to 19 years.

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