Monday, September 27, 2010

New whining in Gaza - because more goods are coming in

Even when Israel eases restrictions on goods entering Gaza, the wire services find Gazans more than happy to whine. From AFP:

The shelves are packed with imported food, but the ersatz prosperity of the newly opened "Gaza Mall" hides the lingering malaise haunting the impoverished territory.

The two-story supermarket in Gaza City opened its doors shortly after Israel partially lifted a four-year blockade of the Hamas-run enclave in June following an international outcry over the deadly seizure of an aid flotilla.

Three months later, it sells everything from Nestle cereals and Galaxy chocolate to blue jeans and toys, nearly everything imported from Israel. Newly released data show the economy is starting to recover.

But weary factory owners say they are being squeezed out of business by the new imports and more than a third of the Gaza workforce remains unemployed.

"Because of the entry of products from Israel, the West Bank and Jordan after the Freedom Flotilla incident we had to stop one of our production lines," said Musa Siyam, the owner of the Mecca Cola plant outside Gaza City.

"We couldn't compete on price because there are still raw materials we cannot bring into Gaza... I had to lay off 20 workers."
By the way, today some 15 trucks filled with cement and iron, and 6 more with communications equipment, are being shipped from Israel to Gaza - in addition to the 200 trucks of food, medicine and fuel.

Should priority be going towards building materials and infrastructure - or to factory owners? AFP doesn't even bother to ask the question.