The Palestinian economy may grow 2% this year, the first rise since the Oslo peace agreements were signed in 1993, according to local economists. The turnaround is mainly the result of a sharp increase, to more than 100,000, in the number of Palestinians working in Israel, the highest level in several years. The workers are frequently banished by Israel as punishment for terrorist acts.
The Clinton Administration is pressing Israel to let even more Palestinians work there and to make trade easier between Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It also plans to convene another international conference to raise investment funds for the Palestinian economy.