Arab Today, arab today gaza blockade will end very soon
Last Updated : GMT 05:46:22
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Hatem Owaida tells Arabstoday:

Gaza blockade will end very soon

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Gaza blockade will end very soon

Owaida says Gazans don't need Egyptian tunnels
Gaza - Mohammed Habib

Owaida says Gazans don't need Egyptian tunnels Gaza - Mohammed Habib Hatem Owaida, director of the economy minister's office in Gaza, has told Arabstoday that the import replacement policy aims to support local industry by "regulating the import of goods that have a locally-produced alterative." Owaid explained that the Palestinian Standards Institute (PSI) has been given the responsibility of monitoring and regulating quality of national products. The PSI uses a three-step criteria to assess whether the product has a locally-produced alternative. "They look at quantity and whether it covers the market's needs, the quality of the local product and the general consumer price." The transcript of Arabstoday's exclusive interview with Hatem Owaida is as follows. AT: How do you see the economic situation in the Gaza Strip at the moment, and how do Gaza and the West Bank compare in financially? HO: From a nationalistic standpoint, we shouldn't separate the economy of Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem. It is all really just one economy. I know there are some economic indicators that can be looked at in Gaza and in the West Bank, but we must look at the Palestinian economy as a whole and not partitioned, because we're under occupation. Palestinian economic indicators confirm that some of the old problems are still there, which came into being as a result of the Palestinian economy's involuntary dependence on the Israeli economy.  For example, there are the arbitrary Israeli measures affecting borders and crossings through the Paris Protocol and daily procedures that are in use. The Palestinian economy became passively dependent on the Israeli occupation a long time ago. If the Palestinian economy is to be liberated, we need to take several measures  These include freeing ourselves from the Paris Protocol and becoming self-reliant in rebuilding a sustainable and promising Palestinian economy. It is important that we open up to the world, build partnerships with Arab, Islamic and other countries and sign trade and manufacturing agreements to exchange expertise with the external world. AT: There was this report about high unemployment rates in the Gaza Strip. What has caused this phenomenon and what are the proposed solutions? HO: The main cause is the blockade on the Gaza Strip. We can't import materials to run our industrial establishments. We have over 3960 such establishments which employ over 4000 workers. Closing all points of entry has naturally increased and doubled unemployment. Proposed solutions include activating industry by supplying raw materials until workers are trained and employed, or creating new methods for running small enterprises and funding them, so that each Palestinian becomes owner of a small enterprise. This is what the ministry, for example, did to create job opportunities. Three or four people can work in each small business, which would make reducing unemployment easy. In addition, there is the possibility of opening border crossings to allow the easy and uncomplicated entry of materials and export of Palestinian goods and products, so Palestinians and businessmen can deal with the Arab and Islamic world. These measures would reduce unemployment drastically, especially in the Gaza Strip. AT: There has been a problem with the payment of wages in the West Bank. Is Israel's withholding of tax revenue the issue here, or are there other reasons? HO: Tax revenues are part of the problem, especially as the Paris Protocol stipulated that tax must be collected by the Israelis, at ports and border crossings. So, Israel collects the taxes for whatever service and then transfers it to the Palestinian camp, which is left in the mercy of the Israeli's whims. So whenever Israel decides to blackmail the Palestinian camps over withholding these funds, Palestinian society is plunged into a problem. This is especially true as over 30 to 50 percent of the revenues is generated by Palestinian commerce. So the Israeli camp doesn't have the right to use the tax revenues as a deterrent or a trump card. This is part of the problem. The main problem, however, is the way finances are handled by the Palestinian Authority; the presence, or lack thereof, of transparency and the loss and squandering of resources. So there are a lot of factors, but Israel withholding funds from the Palestinian treasury is the main problem. AT: What's your assessment of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip at the moment? HO: The Israeli blockade was very tough, but it's on its way out, thanks to Gazans' patience, perseverance and ingenuity. As they say, we're within a stone's throw of, not lifting the blockade, but breaking it. Palestinian citizens and government policy have proved to everyone that we have managed to survive under this blockade. Many steps were taken in the hope that the blockade will be broken, and everyone will see soon that it's on its way out. AT: If Egypt closed the tunnels with Gaza, would it spark an economic crisis here? HO: Palestinians only resorted to the tunnels when they were prevented from importing goods legally. So when Palestinians were deprived from clothing, medicine and food, we were left with no choice but to buy from Egypt. Trade was not allowed above ground, so we did it underground, but the moment the border crossings are opened, the Palestinian people in Gaza won't need to get their things via the tunnels. The occupation can't keep messing us about with the crossings, opening them and then closing them again. This is the sixth day in a row that the Karam Abu Salem border crossing has been closed, and it's the only one through which all products and goods are allowed to enter. But even with this border crossing, the Israeli occupation only allows us to bring in 35 percent of our total needs. So once the border crossings are open, it would be easy to close the tunnels. But if it's done before the border crossings are functioning fully, we'll get back to the major shortages. So without the border crossings being opened fully, we would suffer from many social, economic and political problems in Gaza if the tunnels are shut. AT: Are the tunnels still Gaza Strip's lifeline? HO: That's precisely what we don't want. We stress the need for the border crossings to be opened fully. The moment this happens, the tunnels will stop working without any external pressure. Then, any product that enters through a border crossing, won't be brought in via the tunnels, because there will be differences in price and taxes and so on. So opening any border crossing fully would definitely close tunnels. Palestinians have the right to live normal and easy lives and for all goods to enter the strip legally. This is what we hope and ask for. What we don't want is for the status quo to persist, the Palestinian camp to be pressured and all commercial border crossings closed. Because then, how would we make these goods and products available? Make no mistake, closing the tunnels without officially opening the border crossings would definitely be catastrophic and a return to the blockade on Palestinians where the shortages will set in again. AT: Is the division between the two governments affecting the economic situation in the Gaza Strip? HO: Of course. The Palestinian government has always stressed the need for unity, so any issue that affect this area will naturally have negative effects on all aspects of life, especially the economic aspects. As for current economic conditions, the West Bank is working in one direction and the Gaza Strip in another. So the future will be negatively affected. We have a lot of evidence of improvised foreign economic relation. So the split does have a negative effect on Palestinian economy, and the closer we become and the stronger the unity between the two government, the more we will see positive effects on the Palestinian economy's sustainability and unity in political and economy decision-making. Any solid, practical steps in the direction of ending the division will therefore improve economic conditions. Also, relations with Arab and Islamic countries would help prop up the Palestinian economy if we can bring the division to an end. AT: How far along is the Gaza Strip electricity crisis and does it affect the Palestinian economy? HO: The electricity problem is quite serious and has been for a long time. It doesn't only affect the industrial and commercial sectors, but also the services sector and everything that's affected by communications indicators. What concerns us now as regards this indicator is the negative effect it has on industry as many plants can't work properly because of the power outages. The same goes for shops that offer goods and services. All these sectors are affected. Many factories have laid out workers because of the power outages. Having a steady power supply would generally affect production as much as having an unstable supply does.  

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today gaza blockade will end very soon Arab Today, arab today gaza blockade will end very soon


Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Fadi Kataya explains secrets of  Nancy Ajram's newlook
Arab Today, arab today Messi visit will contribute in tourism

GMT 14:04 2017 Friday ,24 February

Messi visit will contribute in tourism
Arab Today, arab today Expresses Algerian history by woody figures

GMT 13:26 2017 Friday ,24 February

Expresses Algerian history by woody figures
Arab Today, arab today Mental conflict endures

GMT 07:36 2017 Friday ,24 February

Mental conflict endures

GMT 18:15 2017 Sunday ,19 February

Official accuses militias of challenging companies

GMT 06:51 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Blames government for economic crisis

GMT 06:35 2017 Saturday ,18 February

MP calls for re-operating closed companies

GMT 13:35 2017 Friday ,17 February

Confirms Britain is biggest investor in Egypt

GMT 15:55 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Egyptian foods completely unobserved nor healthy

GMT 11:18 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Reveals plan to get out of financial crisis

GMT 12:33 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

Yemeni accuses militias of challenging oil
View News in Arabic - Business: أخبار الاقتصاد
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Reading therapy relieves mental disorders

GMT 15:39 2017 Friday ,24 February

Reading therapy relieves mental disorders
Arab Today, arab today UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years

GMT 05:14 2017 Thursday ,23 February

UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years
Arab Today, arab today Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage

GMT 12:16 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Tesla back into red but revenue grows

GMT 07:27 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Tesla back into red but revenue grows
Arab Today, arab today Nissan enhances sales in most markets

GMT 14:08 2017 Monday ,20 February

Nissan enhances sales in most markets
Arab Today, arab today Wafaa Amer is happy for Sherihan’s return

GMT 07:36 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Wafaa Amer is happy for Sherihan’s return
Arab Today, arab today Milan laughs while Rome cries

GMT 10:28 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Milan laughs while Rome cries

GMT 05:19 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Salma Rashid happy for 'A Whisper of Love'

GMT 12:35 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby

GMT 22:42 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Nasima Gamei revives heritage in jewelries

GMT 15:53 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Small ponds have outsized impact

GMT 20:33 2017 Friday ,17 February

To release new antiques collection

GMT 07:51 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Mom's immune system accepts babies

GMT 09:59 2017 Monday ,20 February

Tourism shows signs of recovery

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 20:02 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Nohan Seyam designs beautiful accessories
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday