Industry in Gaza Failed to Rise After Israel's Attack

Although three months have passed, many industries in Gaza have not been able to rise from the slump following the Israeli attack last May. In addition to the large costs, it will take them years to be able to run their business as usual.

Illustration. Many industry owners have not been able to get up after their business was destroyed after the Israeli attack. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

ACTNews, GAZA– Three months after the Israeli Zionist attack last May, there are still many industries in Gaza that have not been able to rise from adversity. Many industries even decide to close permanently because they don't have the money to rebuild their business. The impact is not only on business owners but also on the workers who had to be laid off.

Naim al-Seksek is a Palestinian businessman who runs a factory in the Gaza Industrial Zone, one of the safest places in the Gaza Strip to operate a business from - or so he'd thought. On May 20, his factory became one of the many casualties of Israel’s latest military operation in Gaza.

“When the Israeli artillery started targeting the Gaza Industrial Zone, there were four guards who saw the fire rapidly spreading due to the raw materials in the factories, they tried to stop it but they couldn’t,” al-Seksek, executive director of the al-Seksek Factory for Plastic Industry, told Middle East Eye.

“We never expected that the Industrial City would be targeted because it is supposed to be protected under the establishment agreements, but the reality was shocking,” al-Seksek said. “Our factory’s losses alone amounted to USD 1.2 million, most of the stock and a large part of the machinery were destroyed. Now even if we were to be compensated for the losses, we would need at least two years to be able to operate normally again,” he said.

Without operational facilities, al-Seksek said had also lost the ability to provide full-time work for his employees. “Around 100 people used to work here, now we only have 40 workers who work part-time, either because the departments they used to work at stopped operating, or because the production volume has been reduced to a minimum,” he explained.

Near the al-Seksek factory in the Industrial Zone is the Abu Iskandar Nylon Factory, which was directly targeted by Israeli incendiary shells and severely damaged. “The Israeli occupation fired several incendiary shells at our factory, resulting in a huge fire that lasted for five hours due to the inflammable raw materials it contained,” Ahmed Harb, one of the factory's owners, told MEE.

“I’ve lost everything. We will not be able to operate again soon. We need hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild what was destroyed.”

Harb said that the losses resulting from the attack amounted to at least USD 700,000, leading the factory’s administration to lay off all its workers. “Seventeen workers used to work in this factory, all of them depended on their jobs here to make a living and support their families. All of them are unemployed now. No factory is safe or protected. Factories and businesses may be part of the main target,” Harb said.

During 11 days in May, Israel launched around 2,750 aerial attacks and 2,300 artillery shells on the Gaza Strip, killing at least 260 people. The committee stated that 33 percent of the damage was incurred by the economic development sector, 61 percent by the housing and infrastructure sector, and 7 percent by the social development sector.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Economy in Gaza, around 1,500 economic establishments were destroyed or damaged during the recent Israeli attack. In July, the Higher Governmental Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza announced that the total losses and damages resulting from the attack amounted to USD 479 million.[]