Saturday, September 17, 2005

Commerce in Gaza

Never let it be said that the spirit of free enterprise is not alive and well in the world. Experience shows that it may be as natural to human behavior as lovemaking.

This picture from Laila's blog is captioned "DUTY FREE SHOPPING — Some Palestinians took advantage of the porous border to smuggle across cheap cigarettes without any added taxes."

Palestinians in the wake of Israel's withdrawal are in a festive mood. It has been called "anarchy" by some who would discredit the Palestinian authority, but I recall an NPR broadcast back in February describing the equally strange circumstance of Gaza's special category auto tags for "stolen cars."

Via Rafah Pundits a link to Laila's blog is worth a read.

Egyptian visitors to Palestinian Rafah-and Gaza city, of which there were thousands - carried back bags of apples - a staple of northern Gaza, but difficult to find and expensive in Egypt, along with wool blankets and trays of sweets, as moneychangers took advantage of the unexpected market, exchanging shekels for pounds at high rates to anxious visitors, and vice versa.

"Who would have ever believed it-there were actually Egyptians in my store this morning-in Gaza city!" a Palestinian boutique owner, downstairs from my house, exclaimed.

"I wish the border would never close-business has never been so good, and people can finally visit their families," said Egyptian shopkeeper Mohamamd Gumbaz, who owns a herb and spice store just after the border that, like many nearby shops, had sold out of most items.

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