Many of Gaza Strip's residents will have to celebrate the coming month of Ramadan without the traditional red meat dishes, as the dire economy in the Strip has left many unable to afford it.
According to the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency, while fresh meat prices in the Strip have dropped by 50%, the 80% of Gazans living in poverty still cannot afford it.
The report also indicated that about 50% of Gazans are unemployed.
While during the last two Ramadan holidays the price of red meat was about NIS 65 per 1kg (roughly $17), butcher shops are now selling it for about NIS 40 ($10) – which is still out of reach for many in the Strip.
Hamas government in Gaza claims it is responsible for the drop in meat prices. Ahmed Abu Riala, head of the consumer protection department in Gaza's Finance Ministry, told Ma'an that "prices of red meat in Gaza are now the lowest in the entire region."
His department, he added, is monitoring butcher shops to insure no illegal price hiking takes place.
Israel recently allowed a shipment of some 1,500 heads of cattle into Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing. A second, similar shipment is due to be delivered to Gaza by September.
Gaza residents, however, seem reluctant to buy the beef delivered from Israel, saying the calves brought in from Israel are too old, a fact which degrades the quality of meat.
Gil Feiler, Doron Peskin
Doron Peskin is head of research at Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd.