Exclusive to Environment and Development Horizons:
Average life expectancy in the world increased by five years between 2000 and 2015 bringing it up to 63.1 years (64.6 years for females and 61.5 years for males). This report was published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in May 2016. According to the organization, this data constitutes the highest rise in life expectancy since the sixties. The WHO report also estimated that the average life expectancy for children born in 2015 is 71.4 years.
The numbers on a global level can be misleading because they do not include the enormous gaps between nations and communities. In advanced countries like Japan and Switzerland, respectively, the average life expectancy for women is about 87 years old; the average age for men in Switzerland is 81.3 years. While the average age in the Sierra Leone is 50.8 years for women and 49.3 years for men.
In 2015 the average life expectancy in the Palestinian in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was 72 years for males and 75 years for females. This was an increase of 5-8 years over the 1992 average age. At that time it was estimated at 67 years for males and females (PCBS Palestinian 2015). In comparison with the Palestinian average life expectancy, the Israeli average age is 80.6 years for males, making Israel the fifth in the world after Sweden, Australia, Iceland and Switzerland. The Israeli average age for females is 84.3 years that is ninth place in the world after Italy, Australia, Switzerland, France, South Korea, Spain, Singapore and Japan according to World Health Organization report 2016.
The Palestinian statistics are a paradox. The life expectancy is lower even though there is a high fertility rate. Palestinian society is statistically young. Elderly Palestinians’ (60 years and above) age range is 4.5% (of the total Palestinian population), broken down to 4.9% in the West Bank and 3.8% in Gaza. The percentage of the same age range in Israel is above 18% according to Israeli census. In Germany, it is 20%, this figure does not include new immigrants.
Despite the population increase during the last two decades, the life expectancy in Palestine remains relatively low. The lack of access to medical services is a contributing factor. The deficiency in the availability of medical equipment and technology, medical specializations and access to hospitals has aggravated mortality rate.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health documented that the 2 leading causes of death in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are cardiovascular disease at 30% followed by cancer at more than 14%. Cancer cases recorded annually rose between 2000 and 2014 by 114%.
Journal of Environment and Development (May 2016) contends that the causes of death in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were due to environmental factors. The different types of pollution are from the illegal dumping by Israeli and Palestinian companies in Gaza and the West Bank; the bulk of the hazardous waste scattered throughout the Palestine territories is from Israel. It is radiological, chemical and hazardous waste resulting from the Israeli weapons used against the Palestinians. This all is in the environment in high concentrations and it is affecting the health of the Palestinian population.
: Kefah Abukhdeir