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Gazans struggle with rising prices as bombs fall
Published Sunday 10/08/2014 (updated) 19/08/2014 12:36
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Locals buy onions at a local market in Gaza City on Aug. 9, 2014
(AFP Roberto Schmidt)
GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Israeli bombardment has left large swathes of Gaza in ruins, and the enclave's already shattered economy is also feeling the pinch as prices for staple foods have started to climb.

The market in Gaza City's al-Shati refugee camp was bustling Saturday, but many of the camp's hard-up residents are buying less.

Israel's offensive on the enclave has hit agricultural areas badly, pushing up prices.

Khaled Ighrad, 48, who was buying food with his wife and one of his six children, has had to cut back on some key items for his family.

The price of eggs has doubled from 10 shekels ($3) to 20 ($6) since Israel launched a campaign of air strikes on July 8.

"I'm not buying a whole box of eggs, I'm buying half. I'll buy this and it lasts us for two days," he said, wistfully looking at the trays of eggs on the stall in front of him.

"Prices have gone up because things like meat and eggs are produced on the border area. We don't go to the border area any more, so the people only went during the ceasefire."

Israel expanded its offensive against Hamas into a ground operation in mid-July, pushing troops, tanks and artillery across the border into the narrow enclave.

Grown in Gaza

A few stalls away, under a colored canvas awning, Abu Ahmed Badawi sits next to tables stacked with peppers, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes. Few people stop to ask about his wares, grown in Gaza, since he has had to raise his prices.

Not only are farmers unwilling to tend their crops because of the risk of air strikes or shelling, but drivers are wary of traveling to these areas to bring them to the city's markets.

"If they go, they're worried, they're taking their life in their hands, they might die -- or they might live. So the price of goods has increased. Not only because of the sellers, but the people who transport their goods."

Before the conflict, he sold a kilo of potatoes or tomatoes for one shekel. This has climbed to three shekels, a further pinch for Gazans whose economy has been strangled by eight years of Israeli blockade.

"It is difficult to people because they don't have money or work, and there's no economy," Badawi said angrily. The fruits on his stall have not changed in price -- he said they were imported from Israel at the Kerem Shalom crossing.

"This is the Israelis' strategy -- they strike us, then they open the border" to let their produce in, he said bitterly.

50 factories razed

Mahir al-Tabaa, head of the Gaza chamber of commerce and industry, agreed the conflict had caused "huge and long term indirect losses" for the economy.

"The direct losses when (Israel) destroyed the economic and industrial establishments and residential buildings is around $3 billion," he told AFP.

He said while the price of petrol, which is also imported from Israel and the price of which is controlled by the government, has not changed in the conflict, "the prices of all goods and agricultural produce like vegetables and meat will significantly increase.

"This is a heavy burden," he said.

In addition to this, the destruction of "350 industrial sites, including more than 50 large, strategic factories" would set unemployment climbing.

The "unemployment level will be around 50 percent after the war, an average of 200,000 people out of work ... the level was 41 percent before the conflict," he said.

One sector still doing a lively trade is tobacco.

In the market at al-Shati, Abu Salim sits by his small stall, where he sells cigarettes.

Although his prices have increased, he is doing brisk business, and shoppers constantly stop by to pick up a pack of Royals, the brand favored by many Gazans.

A packet of 20 Royals costs eight shekels, one more than before July 8, although Abu Salim has seen no decline in demand.

"In the truce people smoked a pack a day," he said, referring to the three-day ceasefire that ended on Friday. "After it ended, they smoked two a day, because of the situation in the country," he said.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
1 ) sbp / us
10/08/2014 17:18
buy blue and white bds EU

2 ) Mel / USA
10/08/2014 17:20
This is what ZIONIST Plan Dalet is for.Drive non-Jews to the psycho-physio-emotional ECONOMIC BRINK where they pack up &flee to Jordan,Egypt,Lebanon etc.BUT Palestinians,especially in Gaza,are SO STEADFAST,they're not going ANYWHERE! Palestine is their home. Israel has dropped 80,000 TONS of weapons so far,in 1 month on a POW camp. "Mowed the lawn"with tanks,clouded sky with F16's,missiles,mortars&Drone BUZZananah.But GazansSTILL STAND UP! AWESOME COURAGE!Obama,give yerNOBEL to Gaza(a CMO too)

3 ) Mel / USA
10/08/2014 17:33
Cont: IN FACT....mold out another NOBEL PEACE PRIZE & give it to that brave Gaza man with the vegetable cart, & one for the Gaza DONKEYS &the ROOSTERS that keep calling out to say 'Palestine is still here'!
They've EARNED IT MORE THAN Obama & LOST MORE than Obama,but they RETAINED THEIR COURAGE & SOUL! Something Bibi,Obama &their LUNY Zionazis can only DREAM of! COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT IS A WAR CRIME Obama.STOP CHECKS TO ISRAEL.Palestinians have been "Yazidi's"for 67YRS under USG'largesse'!

4 ) Henri / Guyana
10/08/2014 19:00
carine /UK here is the link as requested. You will be reassured to know that the armaments found in the UN school, were returned to the Hamas terrorists by the predominately Islamic Palestinian UNWRA local staffers. http://www.outlookindia.com/news/article/Gaza-UN-Chief-Outraged-at-Weapons-Found-in-UN-School/851276

5 ) Donald / Scotland
10/08/2014 20:21
Not one word in the article about Hamas, the cause of these shortages. Meanwhile humanitarian supplies from Israel continue to flood through Israel’s Erez crossing into the Gaza Strip.

6 ) Michael / Italy
10/08/2014 21:47
How odd ...... Israel provides you with OIL/GAS. You are the only country on earth where the so called 'enemy' supplies you with OIL/GAS. There is something wrong with you thinking of who is the bad guy.

7 ) Theo / Thailand
10/08/2014 21:52
Please start watering your lawns and dusting off stuff. Your not taking care of your surroundings. Also, why are the women so fat, does your culture prevent the women from going to the local pool/spa or tennis club? Women should be allowed to do that so they stay fit.

8 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
10/08/2014 23:59
Make you a bet - Hamas stops the rockets and tunnels and prices will go down. Make an even bigger bet - Hamas agrees to the 3 conditions of the international community (reject violence, accept the peace process) and then the borders will open, prices will go down, people will get jobs, and there will be no need for bombs. However, Hamas does not want that - they want jihad only and are willing to sacrifice tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent Gazans in their jihad bloodlust.

9 ) Outlier / USA
11/08/2014 20:43
Another consequence of a conflict Hamas started and prolonged. It will not be the last.

10 ) Mel / USA
20/08/2014 14:08
Wow! The stupidity of Zionist Robots grows,every minute.
#6:Michael/Italy: You already pay huge prices per liter(for cheaply-extracted GCC/US oil) in EU. But imagine that 85% of Italy,is occupied for 67yrs, out of work,homes,factories,farms BOMBED by USA/UK & Saudi then quadruples the oil price & Russia quadruples gas price? 85% of 2 million people in Gaza are OUT of work,bombed,&Israeli prices are x4 anywhere else=COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT(war crime).No work=no money=no oil/gas/food to purchase!!

11 ) William / USA
22/08/2014 21:15
""This is the Israelis' strategy -- they strike us, then they open the border" to let their produce in, he said bitterly." And if Israel doesn't let produce into Gaza, they're branded as war criminals and imposing collective punishment. Get rid of Hamas and their war criminals, and both sides can get back to cooperation and tacit peace.

12 ) Anarchist / World
23/08/2014 18:55
"Get rid of Hamas and their war criminals, and both sides can get back to cooperation and tacit peace" - A bit like the US tactics of herding the Native Americans onto reservations (having beaten them into submission & stolen their lands) or shooting the Mexicans who try to get into USA (not including those who are exploited within the US of course). All Palestinians are equal, including those who choose to fight for their land. War criminals will get judged at the ICC. Free Gaza & peace to all.
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