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Cement shortage in Gaza leaves thousands jobless

Israel's restrictions on cement imports into the Gaza Strip are having a devastating effect on the local economy.
Palestinian woman Jamela Abu Esheba, 39, ties bags of cement with a rope at a work field in the northern Gaza Strip May 12, 2013. Abu Esheba, who lives with her aged parents, works as a cement bag porter and is the sole breadwinner for her family. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA - Tags: SOCIETY POVERTY) - RTXZJND

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — “You must be by the Bahloul station west of Gaza City at precisely 10:30 p.m. Bring a truck to transport the merchandise. Do not forget to come alone, and make sure that no one sees us!” Such were the instructions received by Qassem via a telephone call from one of Gaza City’s dealers.

At first glance, it might seem that the merchandise to be delivered might be drugs or hashish, but in reality the 22-year-old man only sought to purchase bags of cement, to complete construction on his marital home. This is a scene indicative of the extent of suffering that has permeated Palestinian society as a result of the worsening crisis engendered by a lack of construction material.

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