Hamas blames rising food prices in Gaza on global trend
Hamas has blamed global trends for rising food prices in Gaza, following complaints from Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave.
The Hamas-run ministry of economy said that the rise in prices is not limited to the Gaza Strip but being experienced across the globe due to the coronavirus crisis and disruptions to supply chains.
Osama Nofal, an official at the ministry, told The New Arab that countries across the globe have seen food prices rise by 16 percent.
It comes after a significant increase in food prices in Gaza, where many Palestinians are living under the poverty line.
Nofal said the ministry will prevent merchants from exploiting customers and exaggerating the prices of goods.
"Our field staff will follow up on this matter and punish those who violate the prices issued by the ministry," he said.
Gazans said they were shocked to see the prices of some staples double in price without prior notice.
Lentils, chickpeas, sugar, flour, ghee, and corn oil are among the goods whose prices have increased dramatically, with increases ranging from 10 percent to 30 percent, according to Palestinian officials at the Hamas-run ministry of economy.
Sugar, which used to be sold for 1.57$ per kilogram is now selling at 2.04$ per kilogram, while the price of flour has gone up from 0.50$ per kilogram to 0.62$ per kilogram.
Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and has been under a tight Israeli blockade since the summer of 2007 when Hamas took control of the strip.
The 2007 crisis also further severed Gaza's access to humanitarian assistance. In September 2020, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian Territory said that Gaza is on the brink of being "unlivable".
Poverty and extreme poverty in Gaza has risen to 53 percent and 33.8 percent, respectively, according to the latest statistics issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.
Omar Keret, a 45-year-old Palestinian man from Gaza city, complained that he cannot buy enough food for his six children, due to being unemployed for many years and suffering from leukemia.
He said that he has to survive on the $400 provided to him by the ministry of social affairs, which has to last three months.
"The money is not enough to feed my children," he said, due to the rising food prices.
Mohammed Abu Salah, a supermarket owner from Gaza city, said he fears big losses if customers cut down on their shopping due to the price rises.
The 36-year-old father of two told The New Arab that raising the prices of food will have adverse effects on shop owners with food spoiling and going to waste while Gazans go hungry.