Gaza- Every morning, street vendor Saeed Akl receives displaced people who offer him to buy simple and various goods from what they own and have available, for the purpose of obtaining “cash” to purchase other supplies for their families.
Saeed Aqel, who was also displaced about 20 days ago, from the Nuseirat camp in the middle of the Gaza Strip to Rafah in the far south, has never worked in trade, but the difficult conditions he lives in due to the aggression launched by the Israeli occupation since the seventh of last October on the Strip. Gaza forced him to do so.
Aqal displays various types of biscuits, juices, and canned food in his mobile “bathhouse.” He told Al Jazeera Net, “I am not a merchant. Circumstances made me a seller in order to live. I have 7 people I want to spend on.”
There is another source of goods that Aqel sells, which is the famous “Najma Square” in Rafah, where wholesalers display goods that they say come through the Rafah crossing. Aqal says, “I am displaced, and displaced people also come to me to sell some goods, and I buy from them and offer them for sale.” He pointed to the vendors spread around him, saying, “All the vendors are like me, most of them are displaced people, and they buy and sell to earn their living.”
In a remarkable phenomenon, despite the continued Israeli aggression and the non-stop air strikes and artillery shelling, street vendors are spreading everywhere, offering simple and similar goods, mostly food and cleaning tools.
The residents of the Gaza Strip suffer from harsh economic conditions due to the war, as the majority of them lost their sources of income, and their homes and farms were destroyed, she says. United nations 85% of them have become displaced, while Israel tightens its siege on the Gaza Strip and allows only a small percentage of international relief aid to pass through.
Akl says that he earns between 50 to 70 shekels (13 to 19 dollars) daily from his business, adding that it is not enough for his family in light of the extreme prices caused by the scarcity of goods. Akl admits that the prices of the goods he offers are exorbitant and exaggerated, holding him responsible. “For large merchants and the lack of government control,” and for the scarcity of goods and the lack of supply with high demand.
“Selling” is the remaining profession for all residents
Although the majority of vendors are displaced, many of the original residents of Rafah are forced to work in trade to support themselves, and among them is Aboud Al-Shaer (23 years old), who tells Al Jazeera Net that he had never worked in sales and trade before the war, adding, “I am not “I was a merchant, but the situation of the country and the lack of expenses were what pushed me.”
Al-Shaer adds that 95% of the merchants and sellers “are displaced people, due to their difficult circumstances and the needs of their families.” He says, “Displaced people come to me from schools (shelter centers) and offer their goods. The displaced person has no money, and wants to buy other things for his children, so he offers what he has for sale.” .
The poet sells biscuits, canned food, thyme, juices, and cheese, like his predecessor, Akl. The street vendor also buys part of his goods from wholesalers in Al-Najma Square, explaining that his capital does not exceed 700 shekels ($190).
Al-Shaer says that merchants suffer from high prices, just like citizens, and he adds in this regard, “The item that was sold before the war to the consumer for half a shekel. Today, as a merchant, I buy it for 2.4 shekels, and I sell it for 3 shekels. We are not the ones raising prices.”
Regarding his profits from his small business, he says, “I earn about 80 shekels ($21) daily, and I spend it entirely on buying food and drink only. I am single and spend on myself.”
Aside from selling ready-made goods, Khamis Salama (20 years old) turned to making bread, after he noticed the depth of the crisis that the residents of the Gaza Strip were suffering from, after Israel prevented the entry of fuel into bakeries, bombed many of them, cut off electricity supplies, and greatly reduced the import of flour. .
Salama sells the two loaves of bread for one shekel (one dollar = 3.7 shekels), and needs 3 bags of flour (150 kilograms) per day, and an amount of wood to kindle a fire. He tells Al Jazeera Net, “My project is related to war conditions only, and it is more for my services than my profit. I want to help.” People who suffer from a lack of bread,” noting that his total daily earnings do not exceed 20 shekels ($5), in addition to the workers’ wages.
A natural but negative phenomenon
The editor-in-chief of Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper, Muhammad Abu Jayyab, sees the spread of street vendors as a negative phenomenon, caused by the population losing their jobs, the poor distribution of “little” aid, the scarcity of goods and their failure to meet the population’s needs.
Abu Jayyab told Al Jazeera Net, “The cessation of work in various fields pushed people – especially the displaced – to work in trade.”
Abu Jayyab criticized the process of distributing aid to the needy, saying that it “is not proceeding correctly, and some of it has found its way to the markets.”
Although trading in the sale of goods provides cash liquidity to the needy, and some lost goods in the markets, it exhausts the economy, as it causes an exorbitant rise in prices, which may reach 20 times their original price, according to Abu Jayab.
On the other hand, Abu Jayab believes that the phenomenon is “an expression of the residents’ steadfastness in the face of the difficult and dangerous conditions they are living in.”
He added, “The majority of those in the markets are not traders, but rather displaced people, and this was an attempt by them to survive and maintain the minimum level of dignity of living, in light of the decline in aid rates.”