Gaza’s Economy is being Erased -75% of Factories have Closed

Israel has banned the import of all goods not defined as “humanitarian”.

The business sector is collapsing, and most of Gaza’s residents are already dependent on food distribution from the UN and religious charities.

Wed., July 4, 2007 – Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement issued a report today, “Commercial Paralysis: Deleting Gaza’s Economy from the Map”, showing that after three weeks of a complete ban on importing commercial goods to Gaza, the industrial sector in Gaza is collapsing. Over 2,900 factories (out of 3,900) have shut down due to the shortage of raw materials, banned from entering Gaza with the closure of Karni crossing.

¨ 75% of Gaza’s factories have been paralyzed due to the shortage of raw materials.

¨ Israel’s Customs Authority deleted from its computers the customs code used to identify goods entering Gaza, with the exception of humanitarian goods, such as donations of food, medicine and medical equipment. Gaza is closed to the importation of goods.

¨ The price of raw materials for household and industrial consumption has risen between 15% and 34%.

¨ Approximately 30,000 factory workers stand to lose their jobs (factory workers constitute 10% of those working in Gaza, and together they support approximately 210,000 dependents).

¨ The policy of closure is turning Gaza residents into charity dependents.

In the words of Ali Al-Hayak, Director of the Palestinian Federation of Industry: The situation in which there is no chance of importing raw materials into Gaza paralyzes Palestinian industry. Israel is not punishing the government; instead it is punishing the people …Israel must understand that we have basic needs that must be met. There are a lot of people that have been hurt by this closure, lost their jobs, and their livelihood."

According to Sari Bashi, Director of Gisha, "Israel is attempting to achieve political objectives by exerting pressure on 1.4 million women, men and children, whose suffering is supposed to bring about the change it wants – toppling Hamas control in Gaza. In reality, a policy of collective punishment is being imposed upon 1.4 million people, in violation of international humanitarian law and contradictory to Israel’s interest. Destroying Gaza’s economy only exacerbates dependence on extreme elements".