The recent attacks resulted in high economic losses along with the huge loss of life.
5000 Palestinians lost their jobs after the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. Each act of Israeli aggression on Gaza leaves behind direct and indirect losses. Despite the significant impact on Gaza society at large, many stories remain untold by media outlets. Once the 11-day Israeli assault ended and the world’s cameras turned away, at least 5000 Palestinians who were their families’ breadwinners found themselves jobless. And a more significant number had their sole source of livelihood destroyed. The bombing flattened more than 20 factories.
Previous to the attacks, the unemployment rate in the blockaded Gaza Strip was estimated at 49%. The number is expected to rise to more than 70% due to infrastructure destruction.
Sitting on the ruin of his destroyed factory, Munir Awwad, the manager of Abu Iskandar Factory, said painfully, “At least 20 employees, working for long years in our factory, lost their jobs after it was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike.” Abu Iskandar Factory manufactures nylon, plastic, and packaging materials. They had been located in Deir al-Blaha City, but they relocated just a few days before the bombing, believing the industrial area to be safe. “We transferred our materials here less than a month ago. We were still preparing our machines as we thought it was safer here, but the Occupation bombed several factories in the area, proving there is no safe place across Gaza.”
Losses in Gaza after Israeli Attacks
According to the UNRWA, the initial material losses in Gaza amounted to tens of millions of dollars, as well as displacing more than 75,000 Palestinians from their homes, of whom over 28,700 sought refuge in UNRWA schools. The bombing of Gaza caused over $40 million in damages to factories and the industrial sector of the Gaza Strip. In addition, the energy sector faces damages amounting to $22 million. The Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza estimates damages at about $27 million, including the destruction of agricultural lands.
Engineer Ramadan Al-Najili lost his home and company which he owned in the Khalil Building in Gaza City, which was flattened by 4 Israeli air strikes. “We survived the aggression; we only have the clothes on our backs now,” Al-Najili said. “I spent years in a small printing company until my dreams came true, but it was destroyed in seconds by the Israeli occupation’s hatred.”
The Vice President of the Federation of Industries, Ali Al-Hayek, said that the industrial sector in Gaza incurred direct and indirect losses estimated at $1.2 billion since 2000, well before this most recent attack, due to policies of neglect and the Israeli siege, as well as repeated aggressions on the blockaded coastal enclave. According to Al-Hayek, the industrial sector is on the brink of collapse. The vast majority of favorites are forced to close their doors due to destruction and lack of compensation. Other factories have plunged their owners into debt, which has led them to borrow from banks. In some instances, failure to repay loans has led to imprisonment.
Israeli Attacks destroys factories and industries
The head of the Federation of Metallurgical and Engineering Industries, Muhammad Al-Mansi, said that the occupation utterly destroyed the economic infrastructure during the last aggression. The Federation is conducting a census of what the airstrikes destroyed through specialized committees in partnership with the Ministry of Economy, evaluating damage to stores, machinery, equipment, raw materials and products. “We have not yet finished evaluating the damages that have so far reached tens of millions of dollars,” Al-Mansi said. “More than 20 factories were completely destroyed. The Industrial State is supposed to be protected area, according to international law. The occupation targeted the factories without warning and the equipment was not extracted for its protection.”
In press statements, he noted that 3000 thousand factory workers were laid off as a result of the bombings and the suspension of industrial work, in addition to the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing, which basically does not meet the needs of the Gaza Strip and its factories. Al-Mansi further indicated that Gaza’s besieged industry “has not received any aid from anyone. Workers have not received any assistance, which increases their suffering.” According to Al-Mansi, since 2014, the Gaza industrial sector has received only 10% of the damage rate in their factories for reconstruction.
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