The combined Israeli-Egyptian siege of the Gaza Strip is affecting many professions and has resulted in thousands of workers and employees being laid off.
Abu-Mohamed Al-Hatu, the owner of scrap metal facility in Gaza, has now let go nine out of 12 workers. He even complains about how to afford the salaries of the remaining three workers.
In the years before the blockade, Abu-Mohamed collected scrap metal from around the Gaza Strip and then packaged it for export to the Israeli occupation for recycling. However, after 2006 he was unable to continue exporting due to the intensification of the Israeli siege of Gaza.
As Palestinians started using the tunnels between Gaza and the Egyptian Sinai to import and export products, thus overcoming the Israeli siege, Abu-Mohamed was again able to export the accumulated scrap metal from his facility.
But after the 3 July military coup in Egypt, the Egyptian security services started destroying all the tunnels, and Abu-Mohamed’s profession, along with hundreds of other professions, was once again paralysed. He has since been obliged to lay off three quarters of his workers.
Scrap metal is now accumulating everywhere in the streets around Abu-Mohamed’s facility while he no longer has any export income. His suffering is extended to his family and to the families of his workers, many of whom have also lost the means to sustain their lives.
Abu-Mohamed and his profession is only one example of the plight of hundreds of businesspeople who have lost their businesses and sources of income in the Gaza Strip.