Hamas Trade Restrictions Cripple Gaza Economy

85% of all factories have shut down
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2007 5:16 AM CDT
Hamas militants pray as they participate in a military exercise in the Jebaliya Refugee Camp, northern Gaza Strip, early Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 7 more images

(Newser) – Since Hamas captured Gaza last June, nearly all trade has been cut off, suffocating both legitimate businesses and those that operate outside the law, the New York Times reports.
An estimated 85% of factories are shut or operating at less than 20%. Both a clothing manufacturer and a gun smuggler told the Times they had to lay off most of their employees and were struggling to make enough profit to pay those left.

"The stupid Palestinian and Israeli leaders are killing us all," griped the clothing factory owner. "The people of Gaza are not Hamas. They are looking for food, to continue a dignified life." The gunrunner said that Hamas' arms restrictions crippled his trade, but he can still turn a meager profit dealing in nitrate, which can be used as either fertilizer or for explosives.