Glimmer of hope for Gaza as reconciliation deal reduces prices
Trucks enter Gaza at the Karm Abu Salem commercial border crossing with Israel.
They carry vital supplies into what is sometimes described as an “open prison”.
Now that the Palestinian Authority has taken back control of Gaza’s border crossings, there’s mounting hope that more goods will be allowed into the beleaguered strip of land, although neither Israel nor Egypt are likely to allow the trade of so-called “dual-use” items such as concrete or steel, which can be used to build tunnels and armaments.
No more tarifs One piece of good news: the tarifs of up to 25% previously imposed by Hamas on Gaza’s merchants have already been lifted.
In most cases, these savings have been passed onto consumers in the form of lower prices.
To give a stark example, a Kia Piccanto compact car now retails at 17,000 euros: 2,000 less than the 19,000 euros it would have cost before the reconciliation deal.
Shop-owners hope that these more competitive prices will entice customers back in.
In one electronics shop, Hiba Mahdi, a Marketing Assistant explains: “The economic situation in Gaza will be better after the abolition of the tax we used to pay at the Karm Abu Salem crossing, making things better for the customer because prices will go down.” What use cheaper appliances?
Cheaper televisions won’t be any use to a population left without power for up to 20 hours a day, however.
When the Palestinian Authority stopped paying Gaza’s electricity bills last spring, it meant that there was only power for three-four hours per day, forcing the large majority of families without private generators to resort to cooking on open fires.
They manage without fridges, and children do their homework by candlelight.
01.06 SEWAGE IN SEA The lack of power to Gaza’s decrepit sewage plants means that human waste is now pouring into the sea, right next to parts of the coast where locals swim and fish.
It remains to be seen whether the reconciliation can bring basic ameneties back to the Gaza strip.