Gaza economy shrinking under Hamas

Poll says 80% feel their situation has worsened; 70% live under poverty line.

gaza food 298.88 (photo credit: Associated Press)
gaza food 298.88
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Eighty percent of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip think their economic situation has deteriorated since Hamas took over the area two months ago, according to a poll released Tuesday. The survey of 400 people by the Near East Consulting firm also found that 70 percent of Gazans live in poverty, pollster Jamil Rabah said. The poverty level in Gaza is 2,000 shekels a month for a family of two adults and four children, he said. "All indicators show that there is a lack of investment and people are less likely to spend money," Rabah said. "Economic activity will deteriorate further." There were no comparative figures predating the takeover because previous polls related to both Gaza and the West Bank. Rival governments emerged in the two Palestinian areas after Hamas wrested control of Gaza from Fatah security forces in mid-June. UN officials and Gaza businessmen have warned that the coastal strip's economy could collapse unless Israel reopens crucial commercial trade crossings it closed after Hamas seized control of Gaza. Israel refuses to do business with the terrorist group that has killed hundreds of people in suicide bombings. In recent weeks, some border points were opened to transfer humanitarian supplies. But no industrial materials have entered Gaza, bringing construction activity and manufacturing to a halt. Forty-two percent of those Palestinians questioned said some food items were in short supply, and 80 percent of business owners polled said they were having difficulties getting raw materials. Of those surveyed, 53 percent said they couldn't express their views freely under Hamas rule. Forty percent of Gazans said they would like to leave the strip, up from 35 percent a month earlier. Sixty-four percent of Fatah supporters said they would leave if they could. On safety, the respondents were divided, with 41 percent saying they don't feel safe under Hamas and the same amount saying they do. The margin of error was 4.5 percent, Rabah said.