The last six months have been a real roller coaster ride for Gaza’s textile industry. The global outbreak of coronavirus initially brought with it an avalanche of orders for masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) made in the Strip. Production soared, and the sector got a rare opportunity to showcase its potential.
Then, in August, with orders for PPE already on the decline, the first cases of community transmission of the pandemic were discovered in Gaza, leading local authorities to impose movement restrictions within the Strip and leaving most of the sector’s workers without a source of income.
HasanCo textile factory owner Hassan Shehadeh, and Rizk Al Madhoun, owner of the Al Bahaa textile factory, are featured in a new clip produced by Gisha in Gaza, providing a glimpse into the current state of the Strip’s textile sector. Since March, Israel has further tightened restrictions at Erez Crossing, preventing travel by traders, among others. “We haven’t been able to enter Israel for months to meet businesspeople and Israeli company owners, to trade ideas and close deals,” says Al Madhoun. “It harms our work.”
At a time when economies far stronger than the Palestinian economy are at risk of collapse due to the pandemic, the debilitating closure enforced by Israel on Gaza gratuitously compounds an already dire situation.
Now more than ever, Israel must remove all obstacles to economic activity and development in the Strip by ensuring regular, efficient movement of goods and travel of traders and businesspeople. It’s time to end the closure on Gaza.
Research and production: Mohammed Azaiza
Videography and editing: Asmaa Elkhaldi
To watch Gaza’s textile industry in the times of the coronavirus pandemic, see here.