In contrast to past years, there are almost no donations for Qurbani in the Gaza Strip this year due to the economic conditions and severe humanitarian crises in the besieged Strip.
A cattle dealer and a government official told the Anadolu Agency that livestock markets are experiencing very low demands in spite of their being large numbers of animals available for slaughter.
The power crisis has also reduced people’s abilities to store meat as refrigerators are unable to work.
During Eid Al-Adha, which falls at the start of September this year, Muslims will sacrifice an animal and distribute its meat to those less fortunate and share it amongst friends and family.
At a cattle breeding farm in Beit Hanoun, north of Gaza, Amjad Abu Ajina expressed disappointment at the reduced purchasing power in the enclave which is home to more than two million people.
Making a sacrifice
“I am waiting for the Qurbani season to sell cattle. This is the only source of income for my family and I,” he said.
“The difficult economic situation in which Gazans live has stopped locals from buying sacrificial animals,” he added.
Many of my customers are working classes; they have stopped buying Qurbani meat as they have been affected by the Palestinian government’s decision to cut their salaries.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has recently tightened Israel’s ten-year siege on the Gaza Strip by reducing or stopping the salaries of government employees in the enclave, stopping electricity payments for the supply of power to Gaza and by forcing large numbers of workers into early retirement.
Abbas said the measures would cease once Hamas, which runs the Strip, steps down and hands over power to him.
The Gaza economy was largely dependent on monthly salaries paid by the government in the occupied West Bank.
Unemployment in the Gaza Strip has reached 60 per cent amongst the youth, according to official Palestinian statistics.
PA staff member, Mohammed Ahmed, said he was unable to buy for a Qurbani this year because of the poor economic conditions in Gaza, in addition to the large reduction in his salary.
“Every year I have to split with six of my relatives a share in a cow, where the individual pays about $400, but this year it is very difficult although the price is lower than in previous years.”