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West Bank trade dashed by Gaza conflict

Friday, August 01, 2014 - 01:48

Three weeks of intense shellfire and bombardments have been the 'normal' in the Gaza Strip - and local shopkeepers in the West Bank say they're suffering the economic fallout of the conflict too during the Eid holiday. Hayley Platt reports.

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Gaza - where rocket launches are part of the landscape, bombardments daily business for a people under siege. The latest fighting between Israel and Hamas began just over three weeks ago. And is still continuing at one of the most lucrative periods in the Muslim calendar for businesses in the other Palestinian territory of the West Bank. When the holy month of ramadan finishes and families traditionally stock up to celebrate the Eid holiday. Hopes were that the latest truce would allow Palestinians to go about their normal lives - temporarily at least. But within hours of the 3-day ceasefire being agreed, fighting had resumed. These shopkeepers say they're also suffering the economic fallout of the Gaza conflict. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) OWNER OF A FRUIT SHOP IN HEBRON, MOHAMMAD ABU EISHEH, SAYING: "This holiday was unlike previous holidays, we are living through very sad times. Our hearts and minds are on the Gaza Strip." During the holiday, it's tradition for relatives and friends to visit each other's homes - with sweets served in generous quantities. But this year, Hebron residents say house visits have only involved items which are normally served during periods of mourning. SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) OWNER OF A SWEETS SHOP IN HEBRON, WALEED JWELES, SAYING: "More than 90 percent of people stand in solidarity (with the people of Gaza) and only served black coffee and dates. I went to many relatives' houses, they were all serving black coffee and dates only. Only a few people bought or served sweets." There are fears of what a prolonged war would do to the local economies. For Israel, the cost of defence and a loss of tourism is expected to be in the billions. For Gaza, where unemployment currently stands at almost 40 percent, it could be devastating. While in the West Bank, there are concerns a second wave of violence could erupt there, too.

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West Bank trade dashed by Gaza conflict

Friday, August 01, 2014 - 01:48