Economic Hardship and Food Insecurity Plague Gaza Amidst Ongoing Conflict

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Despite a recent drop in food prices, many residents of the Gaza Strip find themselves unable to purchase necessities due to a lack of employment and financial resources. The closure of a key border crossing with Egypt earlier this month has resulted in most goods now entering Gaza from Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Locals reported that while markets are stocked with vegetables, fruits, sugar, and other essentials at lower prices, the economic impact of the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, which began in October, has left many Palestinians without jobs or savings. Auni Abu Mosbeh from Deir al-Balah highlighted the dire situation, stating, “People have no money, so money is dead. People have nothing to live on. Those who are truly living are 20% and the 80% are dead, the people are dead.”

The cost of transporting goods from Egypt had been significantly higher—three times as much—compared to those from Israel or the West Bank, which are also exempt from taxes and customs duties. Products from the West Bank and Israel pass through two checkpoints, one near Hebron and another at the Kerem Shalom border crossing. Security checks at Kerem Shalom are less stringent than at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, where goods from Egypt often piled up.

Recently, the Bank of Palestine reopened a branch in Gaza, enabling some residents to withdraw money. However, international officials report that all 2.3 million inhabitants of Gaza are struggling with food scarcity, and 1.1 million face critical shortages.

The intensified Israeli offensive in Rafah has severely restricted aid shipments through the crossing, a vital entry point for fuel and food. Although Israel asserts that it is facilitating aid through Kerem Shalom, humanitarian organizations contend that ongoing military operations impede their ability to distribute these supplies.

The United Nations halted food distribution in Rafah on Tuesday due to depleted supplies and the untenable security situation stemming from Israel’s military activities. The UN has issued warnings that humanitarian efforts across Gaza are on the brink of collapse.


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