The worst situation is in the Gaza Strip where the majority of the population is now dependent on humanitarian aid and most of the factories are shut. Since Hamas came to power, Israel has blockaded the region for security concerns and that has effectively ended business there and caused a shortage of basic goods. The Quartet expressed deepening concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza. But the Quartet called for aggression on both sides to cease. For now the Quartet is focusing on economic prospects in the West Bank where the situation is not so dire. To that end US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said countries should make good on their economic pledges to the Palestinian Territories. There were no major breakthroughs today though, just skepticism about prospects for significant change. This senior research scholar says the Palestinian economy is in verge of collapse in Gaza and in terrible shape in general. She says the problem is the international community accepts and facilitates the status quo and is unwilling to challenge Israel's occupation of Gaza. She says the biggest problem is the Palestinian Territories have been cut off from each other. She says international aid is important but any lasting impact depends on giving Palestinians control over their own affairs.
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