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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

'Palestinian' businesses leave Gaza

There's been a lot of focus in the media on how the 'Palestinian Authority' does not pay its employees and how there is a 'humanitarian crisis' in Gaza. One thing that has been largely ignored (aside from the destruction of the Gaza hothouses that were bought for the 'Palestinians' at bargain basement prices by Bill Gates and James Wolfensohn) is that 'Palestinian' businesses that flocked to Gaza after last summer's Israeli surrender and expulsion of Jews are now leaving, along with 'Palestinian' businesses that 'survived' (read: prospered under) Israel's presence in Gaza. Maybe that's because this shouldn't be (and isn't) such big news - these people should have known better based on the experience of those who flocked to Judea, Samaria and Gaza in the mid-90's after the 'Oslo Accords' thinking that peace and prosperity were going to come to 'Palestine.' In any event, this morning, the New York Times takes a look at some of the businesses that are fleeing Gaza, less than a year after their arrival.

"These are successful businessmen who survived many difficult years when the Israelis were in Gaza," said Wadie el-Masri, the general manager of an industrial park near the Karni crossing, where goods cross to and from Israel. "Now the situation is worse than ever, and many are leaving. This shows how bad the environment is."

Palestinian businesses place most of the blame on Israel and its extended closing of the Karni crossing, Gaza's lifeline to the commercial world. It has been open for less than 40 days this year for the export of goods made in the strip, Palestinian officials said. [Of course, if the 'Palestinians' were not constantly engaged in terror there would be no reason to shut down the Karni Crossing. CiJ]

Since the beginning of the year, 48 of the 60 factories have shut, at least temporarily, in Mr. Masri's now listless industrial zone, called the Palestine Industrial Development Company. Most make clothes or furniture, and all export to Israel or other countries.

Of those that have closed, 13 are textile factories that have relocated, most to Egypt, but some to Jordan, Mr. Masri added.

Elsewhere in Gaza, more than 20 other Palestinian companies are considering or are in the process of moving to Arab countries as far away as Morocco and Algeria, he and other Palestinian business leaders said.


Some businessmen acknowledge that the election victory in January by the Palestinian militant group Hamas and internal feuding have also prompted their decisions to seek out a more stable place to do business, though they say they would much prefer to stay put and build Gaza.

"The Gaza Strip is full of thugs these days," said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political science professor at Al Azhar University who recently organized a conference on the Gaza economy, where business leaders aired their grievances. "As a Palestinian I'm ashamed to say that, but it is part of the problem."

Nabil al-Bowab's family is one of the largest clothing manufacturers in Gaza. It had four factories in the industrial zone near Karni, where 1,200 workers made garments for markets in Israel, Europe and the United States. But he faced mounting problems meeting deadlines set by his foreign partners.

In March he closed three factories and laid off 900 workers, moving to Cairo with his brother to set up another factory. "When the Israeli government made things too difficult, I had to look elsewhere," said Mr. Bowab, 45. [You mean 'Palestinians' can just move to Egypt? Maybe only 'Palestinians' who have money can move there. CiJ]

The rest of the story is a puff piece about how all the 'Palestinians' plans have been frustrated without ever once mentioning the word 'terrorism' or placing the blame where it squarely belongs: on the terrorists. The closest it comes to even mentioning terrorism as an issue is when it says that one of the 'former Jewish settlements' that they intended to use as a staging area for grinding up former Jewish homes and using the rubbish to pave roads was taken by a 'militant group' as a 'training camp.' I'm sure that happens in your neighborhoods all the time. /sarcasm


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