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Impoverished Gaza economy struggles under Israeli blockade | Gaza News

Impoverished Gaza economy struggles under Israeli blockade | Gaza News

Gaza City – For the past 15 years, Wael al-Ghussein has been struggling to keep his oxygen canister factory in Gaza open.

Like many other entrepreneurs in the territory, blockaded by Israel since 2007, al-Ghussein has to face restrictions on imports, Israeli attacks and the generally poor economic conditions that have existed in Gaza for years.

“Previously, the factory operated for 24 hours a day, but now we only operate three days a month,” al-Ghussein told Al Jazeera. “We used to have 30 employees working for us, today we have only three workers.”

Restrictions have made it difficult to import basic raw materials and equipment necessary for the factory, and constant power cuts have also limited al-Ghussein’s ability to operate his business effectively.

“Entry permits for raw materials and equipment need months to be approved by the Israeli side,” al-Ghussein said. “Some of the materials were damaged due to the waiting period, and sometimes there was no approval.”

Much of the factory equipment has gathered cobwebs as it has not been used for years [Abdelkarim Abu Riash/Al Jazeera]

Al-Ghussein explained that he spends thousands of dollars per month on the fuel needed for the generators that run the factory during the eight to 12 hours a day that power is off.

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To make matters worse, al-Ghussein has already had to rebuild his factory just to return it to the level it was at when the blockade began.

In 2002, al-Ghusseini says that Israeli bulldozers destroyed his factory, located in the industrial zone in southeast Gaza. He estimates his losses from the destruction of the factory at $4m.

He was able to rebuild two years later on a smaller scale in Gaza City, but had lost many of his customers.

Shocking numbers

The blockade of Gaza, which Israel…

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