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News Brief: The global rise in the price of goods puts additional pressure on businesses and families in the Gaza Strip; Al Mezan discusses with trade unions and others affected at its workshop

10-11-2021

On Tuesday, 9 November 2021, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights held a workshop titled, “The Global Rise in Prices: Mitigation Mechanisms for the Implications on the Humanitarian Situation in the Gaza Strip.” The participants included experts and representatives of local trade unions and civil society organizations.

 

In his opening remarks, Mr. Hussein Hamad of Al Mezan’s Research and Technical Assistance Unit noted that the global rise in prices would have catastrophic implications on the population in the Gaza Strip, particularly in light of the already deteriorating humanitarian situation and economic turmoil there. 

 

Mr. Bassem Abu Jray, a researcher at Al Mezan, presented a paper discussing the inter-related factors affecting economic growth in the Gaza Strip, notably Israel’s human rights violations, the internal Palestinian political division, and the pandemic. As such, the Gaza Strip witnessed a decline in purchasing power and general economic conditions, with the rates of unemployment, food insecurity, and poverty currently standing at 45%, 62%, and 53%, respectively. In addition, roughly 80% of the population in the Gaza Strip depends mainly on international aid. This occurs against the backdrop of the Palestinian Ministry of Development’s delay in providing cash assistance within its welfare program to some 79,625 low-income families in the Gaza Strip. Mr. Abu Jray also outlined the material losses incurred by Palestinians during and following the May 2021 Israeli offensive against Gaza.

 

During the workshop, representatives of Bakery Owners Association, Poultry Breeders Syndicate, Palestinian Contractors Union, and agricultural associations addressed the increasing costs of the goods and services they provide because of the global rise in prices. They attributed the worsening crisis to the ramifications of the abovementioned factors, including double taxation due to the Palestinian political divide and lack of strategic planning among various related economic sectors.

 

By the end of the workshop, the participants advanced the following recommendations to mitigate the effects of the recent rise in the global price of goods on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip:

  • The international community should take prompt and effective action to end Israel’s closure and blockade on Gaza and open crossings to facilitate the movement of imports and exports.
  • Donor countries should take into account the variables that may inflict considerable losses on contractors, such as seizing materials at crossings, supply delays, or rise in prices. The donor countries should also ensure that contracting companies enjoy their rights fully.
  • The Palestinian Authority should work strategically to set a comprehensive national plan for economic and development sectors in the Gaza Strip, and actively involve relevant syndicates and experts in the process.
  • There is a need for a serious effort to address the problem of double taxation and to further reduce taxes on basic consumer goods.
  • Control over markets and goods should be activated to prevent monopoly and price gouging.
  • The local authorities should prepare to face the global rise in prices over the upcoming months to protect the poor and low-income populations in the Strip.

Tags / #economy #workshop