Israel's reported plan to ease the siege on the Gaza Strip as means of speeding up a deal for Gilad Shalit's release brought hope to the area's residents, who have been suffering from a long-time shortage of basic goods.
Gaza's residents are hoping that the Israeli plan to send more goods into the Strip will indeed be implemented and improve their quality of life, both in terms of the quality of consumer products and in terms of the economic situation.
Several Gazans told Ynet on Friday morning that the prices of products sold in the Strip's markets were much higher due to the difficulties involved in brining them in through smuggling tunnels.
One of the residents told Ynet that the products arriving from Egypt through the tunnels are deficient in terms of their quality and are much more expensive.
Projects stuck due to lack of materials (Photo: AFP)
"We lack all the construction materials, we are lack dairy products, there is no flour, there is no fuel, there is no computer equipment, raw materials for the agriculture industry – equipment, fertilizers and such, and the material coming from Egypt is insufficient and much more expensive."
According to the resident, he was recently forced to buy tires. "Two tires which used to cost 400 shekels, I had to buy for 1,400 shekels, which is nearly four times more and at a terrible quality compared to the ones which used to come from Israel.
"Even when we eat we know that we're not eating flour of the best quality, and the same is true in regards to dairy products."
According to the resident, an average Palestinian family has lost tens of thousands of shekels during the blockade years due to the price differences between products which used to enter the Strip from Israel and the products arriving through the tunnels.
"Since the siege we pay much more and get a much lower quality. Both in fuel and in all other products the quality is poor."
According to the resident, the most critical shortage is felt in various construction materials. "Many projects and many people are stuck because of the shortage, which makes the construction process a thousands times more expensive, and I hope the ease of restrictions will include construction materials."
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in its report, published Monday, that Israeli control of border crossings is restricting imports to Gaza of reconstruction, medical and other supplies.
It said differences between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Hamas leadership in Gaza curb essential water and sewer services.
"The people living there find themselves unable to rebuild their lives and are sliding ever deeper into despair," said the report.