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Gaza businesses totter as blockade tightens PDF Print E-mail
Sep 03, 2007 at 10:48 PM
CAROLYNNE WHEELER
Globe and Mail Update

Gaza City, GAZA STRIP — Waiting in dusty warehouses in this volatile, locked-down stretch of land are 400 containers of furniture representing a lifetime of hard work and investment.

With the militant Islamist group Hamas holding full control of Gaza, after a violent takeover in June, the 1.4 million people living here have seen their border crossings with Egypt and Israel shut down completely – nothing except humanitarian aid coming in, and nothing and no one going out, save those fortunate enough to have foreign passports or residency permits and the permission of Israeli authorities.

And that is deadly news for the few industries that had managed to survive in Gaza's fragile economy. In a region where a business's ability to buy and sell goods depends entirely upon the security situation that day, and where nearly 90 per cent of households get by on less than $2.40 (U.S.) a day, more than 80 per cent of an estimated 4,000 small factories have closed and unemployment is expected to soon surpass 40 per cent.

The World Bank and UN agencies have warned that the meltdown of Gaza's entire industrial economy may be irreversible.

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Blood and Champagne
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