Gaza’s local industries in ruins as 500 factories are about to close

Carpentry shop in Gaza (Asmaa Elkhaldi)

PC- Staff

The Palestine Chronicle  /  December 29, 2019

2019 was one of the worst years for local Gaza economy that is struggling to stay afloat despite the hermetic Israeli blockade.

Palestinian sources told Quds News Network that over 500 factories, which have provided much of Gazans’ domestic needs, will shut down by the end of this year, due to the increasingly dire economic situation in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Successive Israeli wars and a prolonged, suffocating siege imposed on the heavily-populated enclave for over twelve years, are the main reasons for Gaza’s economic misfortunes, where, as of September 2019, unemployment has soared to 46.7%.

According to the General Union of Palestinian Industries, “2019 was even worse than the year before as 520 factories have been (or about to) shut down this year while other factories moved outside the Strip to Jordan or Egypt, leading to layoffs and increased unemployment among other social and humanitarian problems,” Quds News reported.

A World Bank report issued in September 2018 had already warned that Gaza’s economy was experiencing “free fall”.

The UN says Gaza’s The Great March of Return protests are “symptomatic of the rising level of frustration and despair” after 12 years of blockade and 52 years of occupation:

– 80% dependent on aid
– Most tap water undrinkable
– Widespread PTSD
– 26.000 children need mental health support

Israel’s 12-year blockade of Gaza cut off virtually all imports, crippling its economy + basic services:

– 54% unemployment, says World Bank
– 70% youth unemployment vs. 48% in 2008
– Less than 4% water safe for drinking
– 2hrs avg. electricity/day vs. ~8hrs/day in 2008

“A combination of war, isolation, and internal rivalries has left Gaza in a crippling economic state and exacerbated the human distress,” said Marina Wes, the World Bank’s director for the region, at the time.

“The occupation state has targeted all kinds of economic installations during its wars on the besieged enclave,” Quds News reported.

“It also prevents Gaza’s exportation of much essential material and equipment”.