Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip will cost as much as 200 billion shekels ($51 billion), the Israeli Calcalist business newspaper has reported, citing preliminary finance ministry figures.
The report said the estimate, equal to 10 percent of the GDP, was premised on the war lasting between eight to 12 months, being limited to Gaza without full participation by Hezbollah, Iran or Yemen, and on some 350,000 Israelis drafted as military reservists returning to work soon.
Calcalist described the ministry as deeming 200 billion shekels an “optimistic” estimate. But the ministry announced it does not stand by Calcalist’s data.
The report added half of the cost would be:
- One billion shekels a day in defence expenses.
- Another 40 to 60 billion shekels would come from a loss of revenue.
- 17 to 20 billion for compensation for businesses
- Ten to 20 billion shekels for rehabilitation.
The latest escalation between Hamas and Israel began in early October, when the Palestinian fighters launched a surprise attack on multiple locations along the Gaza border in response to Israel’s repeated aggression against Palestinians and desecration of the al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israeli officials estimate that at least 1,500 people have been killed in the Hamas assault and over 5,500 have been wounded.
Israeli massive air strikes on the densely-populated Gaza Strip, has so far killed almost 9,500 people, mainly children and women.