It is bitterly hard times for the Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza Strip, where the people are struggling for their livelihood under the inhuman Israeli siege, which is now coupled with the spread of the new coronavirus pandemic.
The National Committee for Breaking the Siege has sounded the alarm over the economic hardships the people of Gaza are going through.
Jamal al-Khudari, who is a lawmaker at the head of the organization, issued a statement on the matter on Sunday, Turkey’s state Anadolu news agency reported on Monday.
“The Israeli occupation and siege as well as measures taken against COVID-19 have resulted in an economic crisis, and if it continues, it will create an unprecedented disaster,” the lawmaker said, adding, “The crisis is big and it is very dangerous for workers, factories and the trade, agriculture and tourism sectors.”
The COVID-19 disease, caused by the new coronavirus, was transmitted from wildlife to people in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has affected 210 countries and territories across the globe. It has so far infected more than 1,867,130 people and killed over 115,280.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared the outbreak a global pandemic.
Official figures by Palestine’s Health Ministry shows that as of Monday, 290 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and two others have died so far in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
Central lab in Gaza Strip runs out of supplies to process COVID-19 tests: Ministry warns
Under a tight Israeli-imposed land, air and sea blockade since 2007, Gaza suffers from a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
The impoverished enclave also struggles with the new coronavirus, which is raging across the globe. The Health Ministry in Gaza has already issued a distress call to the world as its central medical laboratory ran out of necessary supplies to process COVID-19 tests earlier this month.
The majority of population of Gaza lives in densely-populated refugee camps, where social distancing is hardly feasible and the contagious disease can rampage the besieged sliver if necessary safety measures are not taken immediately. Nearly two million Palestinians live in Gaza.
In August 2019, Khudari estimated that the economic loss on Gaza due to the Israeli siege was 70 million dollars a month.
He said during the years-long siege, 3,500 factories, workshops, and businesses had shut down in Gaza, whose poverty rate has reached 85 percent.
“There is a daily closure of businesses, factories, and workshops in Gaza, which means a significant increase in the number of unemployed workers and technicians, in addition to large financial losses.”
Khudari, originally an academic and businessman, said at the time that Palestinian economic markets in Gaza and the West Bank had witnessed high rates of depression too. “Sales rates retreated by 80 percent in Gaza and 50 percent in the occupied West Bank.”
In another statement in October the same year, Khudari said the crippling siege had affected 100 percent of factories in the blockaded Gaza Strip.
The Israeli regime denies Gazans their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs with proper wages as well as adequate healthcare and education.
Since 2008, Israel has waged three wars against Gaza and thousands of Gazans have been killed in these wars.
(Source: Palestine Responds)