Luxury Mall Opens in Gaza City



By: DAN VERBIN  
Published: July 20th 2010
in News » Israel

The grand opening of Gaza Mall

Though Hamas maintains that the Gaza Strip still suffers from a lack of construction material and continues to accuse Israel of pursuing a “siege” against the enclave by keeping border crossings shut, a luxury mall held its grand opening over the weekend in Gaza City.

 

The mall would not have been out of place in any Western country. Opening mere weeks after Israel announced that it would ease its Gaza blockade after mounting international pressure, it features “Israeli men’s trousers at an attractive price”, American-made men’s shirts, girl’s clothes from France and boy’s clothes from Turkey, according to an Israeli blog.

 

The “Gaza Mall” – the first mall to open in Gaza in the four years since Hamas took power – has air conditioning, a large supermarket, a food court, a parking lot and security guards. It also offers to deliver purchases to customers’ homes.

 

According to Arabic website Paltimes, the mall will include “all the supplies needed by the family” with prices that will be “low in nature and attractive.” A wide range of products will be available, food, clothing, perfumes, shoes, household appliances and office supplies.

 

The manager of the mall, Salah Abu Abdo, was quoted as saying, “The opening of the (Gaza Mall) under the conditions of the continuing siege on the Gaza Strip and at low prices encourages Gazan citizens to buy (and) is a great achievement." He added that Gazan families can use their computers to shop from home by using the e-shopping service.

 

Political and media commentator Tom Gross, who featured photos of the mall on his blog, www.tomgrossmedia.com, asked on his blog why the media has largely shied away from covering the mall’s opening, while instead focusing on EU Senior Foreign Affairs Representative Catherine Ashton’s weekend visit to Gaza and her Sunday morning statement that Israel should lift the blockade on Gaza.

 

For example, Sky News stated in an article on Saturday, “A month after Israel announced it was easing its blockade of Gaza, food supplies are getting better. But the overall humanitarian situation remains dire.”

 

Gross commented: “On a day when (because EU Foreign Policy Chief Baroness Ashton is in Gaza) the BBC and other media have featured extensive reports all day long on what they term the dire economic situation in Gaza, why are they not mentioning the new shopping mall that opened there yesterday?”

 

In a posting on Huffington Post, Jacob Shrybman, the Assistant Director of the Sderot Media Center, wrote about the mall’s opening. He criticized UNRWA President John Ging for stating on the same day as the mall opened that Gazans "can't afford to buy cans of Coca Cola from Israel." Shrybman wrote, “But they can afford new clothes, luxury hair products, and children's toys at the new Gaza ‘Strip Mall?’ Is John Ging kidding me? The UN gave nearly $200 million in aid to Gaza in just the six months following Operation Cast Lead. It only gave $10 million in aid to Haiti following the devastating earthquake.”

 

Related articles: (gaza city, gaza mall, tom gross, hamas, gaza strip)

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