Building Boom in Gaza
Two luxury hotels are opening in Gaza this month. Thousands of new cars are plying the roads. A second shopping mall will open next month. Hundreds of homes and two dozen schools are about to go up. As pro-Palestinian activists prepare to set sail aboard a flotilla to Gaza, the Palestinian coastal enclave is experiencing its first real period of economic growth since the siege they are protesting began in 2007. “The siege on goods is now 60 to 70% over,” said Jamal El-Khoudary, chairman of the board of the Islamic University, who has led Gaza’s Popular Committee Against the Siege.
Gaza has never been among the world’s poorest places. There is near universal literacy, relatively low infant mortality, and health conditions remain better than in much of the developing world. Hundreds of BMWs, pickup trucks and other vehicles have arrived in recent months from Libya, while dozens of white Kia Sportage models are widely thought to have come from the same looted dealership in Benghazi.
(Ethan Bronner – New York Times)