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When money loses its value in Gaza | Policy

Gaza – “We cannot choose our food and our needs,” Rami Hamad said, because of the Israeli war… Gaza Strip His nutritional plan, along with his exercise and healthy lifestyle, resulted in a lack of what he needed on the market due to Israel’s occupation of the Rafah land crossing with Egypt and the severe restrictions imposed on it. Kerem Shalom Border Crossing The only commercial.

With great sadness, Ramy recounted to Al Jazeera his years of exercising at a gym in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, which was destroyed during Israel's four-month ground invasion of the city earlier this year.

Ramy said that sports require meat, fruit and healthy food, and he wondered how he could practice them given the painful reality caused by the war and siege. He was referring to his body, which had gained unhealthy weight because he had stopped exercising during the past nine months of war and had to eat whatever food he could get.

The man in his forties (married with four children) also asked: “What is the value of money when your needs are not met on the market? Even humanitarian aid is scarce due to the occupation.” Rafah Crossroads The occupation forces took control of the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Rami Hamad lost his sporting and healthy life before the war and gained weight due to malnutrition - Raad Moussa - Khan Younis - Al Jazeera.com
Rami Hamad misses the exercise and healthy life he had before the war and has gained weight due to malnutrition (Al Jazeera)

A market without goods

Rami, an employee of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, and his wife, a school teacher, had an income that provided a decent living for their family before the war with Israel broke out on October 7 last year, but the family now faces challenges in meeting their daily needs.

Last Friday, Ramy went to the market to buy “frozen chicken”, which he said he had not eaten before the war and did not bring into the house, but which is allowed from time to time in Israel. Despite this, he found the market empty. Therefore, his wife was forced to prepare pies with meat from cans. Due to the complete lack of fresh meat in the market, it was distributed as relief parcels.

“The money in your pocket is just paper if it doesn’t help you buy what you need,” Rami’s wife, Umm Yazan, told Al Jazeera. A piece of “hijab,” a piece of cloth a veiled woman puts under her veil to cover it, she said, “Imagine that such a simple thing did not exist in the market and it would not cost more than one or two dollars before the war. “When we needed many things and goods, we looked for them and could not find them.

Gaza has been without electricity since the war broke out, and Umm Yazan's refrigerator has become a canned food warehouse - Raed Musa - Khan Younis - Al Jazeera.com
Umm Yazzan's refrigerator has become a canning shop because Gaza has been without electricity since the war began (Al Jazeera)

Shortages of medicines and cleaning materials

Among these items is liquid soap (shampoo) for bathing, which Salwa Abu Mustafa tried hard to find in the market for her daughter, but she could not find it. The sixty-year-old retired teacher who worked for many years in a school under the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said that despite the scarcity and poor quality of food, they had patience and even did not have personal hygiene products.

Salwa lives with some of her children in a tent at a displaced persons camp for the families of martyrs in the Mawasi area, west of the city of Khan Younis. Her husband was killed in an Israeli airstrike a few months ago.

Salva is not short of money, she has savings for her education, but she and her children have lost many of their needs, including clothes and shoes, due to the suffocating siege. “Life is miserable,” she said. “In the tent, where the temperature is extremely high, waste is piling up, infectious diseases are spreading, and I can't find shampoo and personal hygiene products that can protect me as much as possible, either in the pharmacy or on the roadside stalls.”

Salwa Abu Mustafa lives with his family in the camp for the families of martyrs and cannot find personal hygiene products and tools in the market - Raad Moussa - Khan Younis - Al Jazeera.com
Salwa Abu Mustafa and his family live in a camp for the families of martyrs and cannot find many of their personal needs in the market (Al Jazeera)

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist,” is what pharmacist Muhammad Sahwil repeats constantly in the ears of patients and visitors to his pharmacy throughout the day, telling Al Jazeera.com that many types of medicines are not available there. “Many medicines are not even available inside the hospital because of the war and the siege.”

“I have never experienced worse days than now,” said the pharmacist, who has owned a drugstore for about 40 years that is considered one of the oldest in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Desperate to flee with a large amount of medicine, Saville opened a pharmacy on the sidewalk across from the Nasser Medical Center. A small group of people had money but could not find what they needed. During the war, we saw different groups standing in the aid lines, and even that aid was no longer available. ”

Pharmacies do not have much medicine even in the remaining hospitals run by the ministry - Raed Musa - Khan Yunis - Al Jazeera Net
Many medicines are not available in pharmacies or hospitals run by the ministry (Al Jazeera)

Famine and high prices

The situation in the northern Gaza Strip appears even darker, as Abu Karim Okar told Al Jazeera in an interview via mobile phone in the “Ard Al-Shanti” area north of Gaza City: “We are suffering, first we pay huge commissions to merchants to get money and wages from our bank accounts, and after getting these funds and wages, we face high prices and shortages of most goods and commodities.”

Due to bank failures and the lack of cash liquidity in the industry, the war period saw the emergence of liquidity trading by merchants, who paid money to employees and others in exchange for cash ratios of up to 16% to 25% of the total amount, depending on the region.

According to Abu Karim, in the northern Gaza Strip, “everyone is equal,” he said, adding that there is no distinction between rich and poor, as the famine affects everyone, even those with money who can afford scarce goods. Prices on the market are very high, with green peppers, for example, costing 400 shekels (about $110) per kilogram.

Famine has reared its ugly head again in the northern Gaza Strip due to the quarantine and severe restrictions imposed by the occupation forces on the entry of goods, commodities and relief supplies. Beans, canned chickpeas and canned food that were available in the northern markets a few months ago have now disappeared from the markets and are too expensive to be suitable for the majority of the population that has been devastated after long months of war.

Ismail Al-Thawabta, director of the government's press office, accused Israel of working to escalate “a policy of starvation in the Gaza Strip and in Gaza and the northern governorates” by closing border crossings and targeting food stores and production facilities. “This is a clear violation of all international conventions that enshrine the right to food as a fundamental human right.”

Israel completely closed the crossing for the 65th day in a row, with Al-Thawabta warning that “a large number of people, especially children, are dying from hunger as a result of Israel’s blocking of aid and food from entering.”

In a statement, the press office called on the international community to step up efforts to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip, as Gazans are suffering from a severe lack of food, water and medicine supplies.


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