Gaza City, MINA – For the first time in years, clothing factories in the Gaza Strip have resumed manufacturing masks, gloves and full-capacity protective clothing, some of which is destined for Israel.
It is a rare economic lifeline in the coastal region which has been blocked by Israel and Egypt since 2007. The blockade and three wars between Hamas and Israel, have destroyed the local economy, with unemployment skyrocketing around 50 percent.
So far, most of Gaza has been spared the coronavirus pandemic with only 17 cases detected, all in quarantine facilities made for residents returning from abroad.
Rizq Al-Madhoun, owner of the Bahaa garment company, said he had produced more than 1 million masks in the past three weeks.
“All for the Israeli market,” said Rizq as quoted from Times of Israel on Sunday, April 26.
Gaza may not have sophisticated machines like other places, but he said the sewing skills of citizens are unmatched.
“Gaza workers are distinguished in handwork and they are better than workers in China or Turkey,” he said.
Another factory, Unipal 2000, is capable of employing 800 workers in two shifts to produce protective equipment all the time.
Both factories import fabrics and other materials from customers in Israel and then produce goods such as masks, gloves and surgical gowns. Unipal produces around 150,000 sheets a day. He received high demand because countries around the world were in shortage.
Asked about doing business with Israeli customers, the two factory owners said they did not want to discuss politics and frame their work in terms of business and humanitarian needs. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)