Gaza's economy shrinks as crossings remain closed

Eighty percent of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip think their economic situation has deteriorated since the militant Hamas movement 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.