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Thursday July 8, 2010 9:25 AM (EST+7)
Rush on brand names in Gaza

Read more: produce, blockade, Gaza blockade, goods, tunnels, imports, exports

RAMALLAH, July 8 (JMCC) - With the recent easing of Israeli restrictions on the entry of goods into Gaza, Palestinians are rushing to the stores to buy brand name goods that have been missing from the shelves for so long. Among the most popular items are chocolate and cornflakes, store owners tell The National.

“The quality is better, the products are cheaper and the packaging is undamaged,” Mr Saqer said, comparing the goods he is now getting with those he has had to bring through tunnels from Egypt. “In the last 10 days, we have seen more customers than for many months.”

But Mr Saqer said the current rush of customers will only last so long. “People still don’t have jobs. So they don’t have money. We are only a small part of the whole.”

Indeed, the easing of the blockade is just that, an easing. So-called dual-use goods are still banned, construction materials will be allowed only for internationally overseen projects and export is still not allowed. Although there may be more and better products in the supermarket, industrialists and analysts say that until there is a complete end to the blockade, economic activity will continue to be severely circumscribed.

“Gaza needs free movement,” said Omar Shaban, head of Pal-Think, a Gaza-based think tank. “We need to export. People need to be able to travel, to make business, and people need to be able to come to Gaza. Banks need to be able to operate normally and cash needs to be injected … Sustainable development needs a complete lifting of the siege.”

Read the story from The National...






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