- Title: GAZA: Mall shopping for residents for the first time
- Date: 21st July 2010
- Summary: GAZA CITY, GAZA (JULY 20, 2010) (REUTERS) ELECTRIC DOOR OPENS TO REVEAL INTERIOR OF FIRST SHOPPING MALL IN GAZA WOMEN WALKING INTO CLOTHES STORE MANNEQUIN IN STORE WOMEN WALKING OUT OF STORE MAN WALKING POSTER ADVERTISING CHILDREN'S CLOTHES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GENERAL MANAGER OF GAZA'S MALL, MUNTHER ABU ABDO, SAYING "The building, has been in place for more than twenty years. All the cement and the necessary material for building was already in place. All we did was raise the place to the standard necessary for it to become a shopping mall." COLOURFUL TOY ON THE GROUND MAN OPERATING TOY WITH REMOTE MAN USING REMOTE CONTROL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SHOPPING MALL STAFF AT CHILDREN'S TOYS STORE, AHMAD MAROUF, SAYING "All the merchandise came through the tunnels. So we coordinate with (Egyptian) traders to get merchandise to the Gaza Strip through the tunnels." CHILDREN PLAYING VIDEO GAMES MORE OF CHILDREN LARGE SCREEN SHOWING SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS MANNEQUINS WEARING MEN'S CLOTHING INTERIOR OF MEN'S CLOTHING STORE MAN LOOKING AT JACKETS MAN IN STORE SHIRTS ON DISPLAY SHIRTS ON HANGERS MAN WALKING OUT OF STORE AND GOING DOWN ESCALATOR
- Embargoed: 4th August 2010 22:53
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA50I3R59G46X8B7DNQJ0M8GFCS
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Gaza shoppers perused the isles and stores on Tuesday (July 17) at the Strip's first shopping mall.
The two-floor mall, located in the first two levels of an old building in Gaza city took eight months of interior designing and renovation, Munther Abu Abdo, the general manager of the mall, said.
It cost two million USD, funded by Palestinian investors.
With a large supermarket, a fast-food restaurant, shops for clothes, shoes, toys and more, shoppers said the mall was a relief after four years of tight blockade.
"The building, has been in place for more than twenty years. All the cement and the necessary material for building was already in place. All we did was raise the place to the standard necessary for it to become a shopping mall," he said.
Israel has been under pressure to ease its four-year-old blockade since the May 31 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.
Israel's allies, including the United States and the European Union, said the blockade was a failing policy that had become counter-productive and difficult to defend.
Under new rules Israel has said that it will let in building materials for housing projects approved by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and supervised by international organizations. Hamas does not recognize the legitimacy of the PA, based in the West Bank.
The projects included deal with schools, health facilities, water treatment and sanitation, Israel has said.
But Israel has also said it would keep the right to ban "dual-use" construction materials that it says could be used by Hamas to manufacture weapons and to rebuild its military facilities.
Despite the ease, mall employees say that the majority of merchandise is coming from the underground tunnels dug along the Gaza's border with Egypt.
"All the merchandise came through the tunnels. So we coordinate with (Egyptian) traders to get merchandise to the Gaza Strip through the tunnels," said one shopper.
Hamas officials said the shopping mall would also provide dozens of new jobs in Gaza, which has suffered soaring unemployment.
Shop owners in the mall said they hoped to keep prices affordable in light of widespread poverty.
Gaza's residents and construction workers, however maintain that the Strip lacks construction materials, and jobs. Salvaging material from the destroyed airport, they say, provides them with a bit of both.
The United Nations says the blockade has not only deprived the poorest in Gaza of basic needs but suffocated the enclave's chances of trading. It insists building materials be allowed in.
The coastal strip, where 1 million Palestinians depend on aid from the United Nations and other international relief agencies, suffered severe damage in a three-week Israeli offensive launched in December 2008.
Israel says it will maintain a sea blockade on Gaza to prevent ships ferrying longer-range rockets to Hamas from its main backer, Iran.
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