New Study by Gisha – Made in Gaza

April 26, 2015.  This morning, Gisha published Made in Gaza, a qualitative study initiated by Gisha, which presents insights gained through in-depth conversations with senior figures in Gaza’s manufacturing sectors: agriculture, textile, furniture, food processing and information and communications technology (ICT). The study complements an earlier analysis of the effect the separation policy has had on the Palestinian economy, published by Gisha six months after the end of the summer’s hostilities.

The current study includes assessments of the damage caused to each sector by the closure and the separation policy, which consists of a number of decisions intended to institutionalize the split between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Factories have shut down, equipment in the manufacturing process is no longer operational and staff has been cut back, while business, along with business and personal connections have shrunk. Focus group participants also shared their assessments for potential growth in their sectors, should restrictions on movement of goods and people from Gaza to Israel and the West Bank be lifted.

Before the closure, 85% of the goods shipped out of Gaza were sold in Gaza’s natural markets, Israel and the West Bank. The sectors reviewed in the study have been badly hit by the lack of access to these markets and the reduced purchasing power of Gaza’s local population.

The study is based on five focus groups held after Operation Protective Edge, as Israel was beginning to ease the blanket ban on the sale of Gaza goods in the West Bank.

With reasonable access conditions, each of the sectors would be able to begin recuperating. In the agricultural sector, study participants estimated that thanks to varied crops and low production costs, the sector could market 30% of its output to the West Bank. Representatives of the textile sector, which provided 37,000 jobs in 2000, said that West Bank sales could help the sector reach 40% to 50% of its output prior to the closure, and that it could compete with the prices of goods made by Turkish and Chinese companies that entered the market after Gaza was cut off from it. Traders in the furniture industry, which reached $55 million dollar in sales in 2005, estimated that West Bank sales could potentially reach 1.5 to 2.3 million NIS.  In food processing, study participants estimated that West Bank sales would bring output to 70%-90% of what it was prior to the closure.

Despite recent statements by top Israeli politicians and security officials touting Gaza’s economic recovery as in Israel’s interest, slight easings of the closure are not enough to allow real recovery. As the study shows, removing access restrictions between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is critical for Gaza’s economic recovery and regional stability.

To read Made in Gaza >