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Forget the Riviera: Women find summer fun at Gaza beach homes

Women in Gaza have been renting private vacation properties this summer where they can lounge, laugh and swim more freely.
Palestinian children swim in a pool as they enjoy the warm weather with their families at the Blue Beach Resort in Gaza July 25, 2015. A luxurious new tourist resort has opened in the Gaza Strip, its manicured lawns, sparkling pool and private beach in stark contrast to the impoverished territory still struggling to recover from last year's war. The Blue Beach Resort, made up of 162 chalet-style rooms set among palm trees and overlooking the Mediterranean, hopes to become the "most significant tourist attra
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — This summer, Maisara Abu Shamala, a painter, organized two trips with her friends to a vacation property she had rented. “The trips were fun,” she told Al-Monitor. “We swam the entire day without an abaya or veil. Women feel comfortable in these private rentals, which usually consist of several bedrooms, closets, a bathroom, a kitchen and a small garden with a big swimming pool for adults and another small one for children.”

Given the high demand for rental properties in summer, Abu Shamala said that it was not easy to find one in the Nuseirat camp, in central Gaza, but she eventually succeeded. “A rental property costs 400-600 shekels [$106-160] per day, and what made me think of booking one is that my husband does not allow me to go to the beach given the presence of a lot of men there,” she said. “Also, I do not like it when the wet abaya sticks to my body and becomes somewhat revealing.”

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