The poor penniless people of Gaza don't seem to be really that Penniless. Between buying basic survival necessities such as Cement, Motorcycles , and Dish receivers , they have spent almost half a billion dollars there in less than 2 weeks: 480 million dollars to be exact.
Now, them having that kind of money isn't a shock really. The people who can smuggle in weapons can also smuggle in cash and food, and everyone knows that Iran is picking up that tab, so the entire Gaza diet no money thing, well, was never really logical from the get go. But let's ignore that for a second, shall we? Let's take a closer look at what's happening economically in Al Areesh right now. In case you didn't know, the prices there have skyrocketed to ridiculous heights, with the majority of major goods scarce and economically out of reach for the average egyptian living in Sinai or out of stock. Gadosh has more details on this:
impacts on the Egyptian economy in the short term have already taken
shape. The duration of this crisis is also directly co-related with the
negative shock the economy might take.
I am sure it doesn’t need an economic genius to realize the impact of the increase of population of the North Sinai province (Arabic link to official website) from 306,790 residents to over a million. The influx of around 750K Gazans to the North Sinai
province has resulted in a massive increase in prices with in the
province. One resident of the province outlines the following changes
in his expenses since the influx of the Gazans:
—- EGP Before Breach – EGP After Breach – % Increase in cost
cream cheese — 15 – 70 – 466%
can flava beans (foul) — 1.5 – 15 – 100%
vegetable oil — 9 – 30 – 333%
1k white sugar — 3 – 15 – 500%
— 1 – 5 – 500%
1 pita bread —0.15 – 1.5 – 100%
have been circulating in the last few days; that the shortage of goods
and products accompanied by increase in price, has reached the 3 Suez Canal
provinces. I can’t think of a more direct and worst impact on the
average Egyptian in the short term than this massive increase of prices
outlined in table above.
So you can imagine that the average Egyptian there, making approx. 300 egyptian pounds a month and who requires a minimum of 2 pieces of pita bread (Regheif el 3eish ya3ny) a day would end up spending 90 EGP, which is 30% of his salary, on bread alone. That's not even counting or factoring in the concept of him having a family or even wanting to get anything besides bread. On the other hand, the government has stopped allowing any food supplies from reaching Northern Sinai, because they figured if that area ran out of goods, then the majority of Palestinians would end up going home without the egyptian government having to exert any violence to do so. While this approach is smart when it comes to getting the palestinians out, it's leaving the Egyptians residing there out in the cold as well. With no goods in stores, whomever didn't stock for food at their homes is now literally starving, with no way to remedy the situation until the Gazans leave.
This has, naturally, caused some of the Gun-toting-Sinai-residents to express some, ehh, resentment, in regards to their palestinian brothers:
Armed Egyptian Bedouin opened fire in the air to warn away
Palestinians, highlighting growing anger over food shortages and price
rises triggered by the breaching of the border wall with Gaza,
The confrontation in the town of al-Joura occurred as residents on
the Egyptian side of the border said shops had run out of goods since
hundreds of thousands of Palestinians poured into Egypt when Hamas
militants blew up the wall last week.
"The stores are empty and what is available is so expensive," said
Youssef Ali, a Bedouin in the divided border town of Rafah. "The
Bedouin are poor. The income of many Bedouin is not more than $30 a
But the emptying of shop shelves and a block by Cairo on new
supplies has prompted thousands of Palestinians to go home since
Sunday, with some saying it was now easier to shop in Gaza than in
"The places are closed or empty. I am going back empty handed," said Mahmoud Mansour, a 52-year-old from Gaza City.
Rafah residents and shopkeepers said the price of tea and some
other goods had tripled. A pack of cigarettes had increased to 5
Egyptian pounds (90 cents) from 1.5 pounds.
Many Egyptians say they are suffering since Cairo began blocking
supplies of food, petrol and medicine to the Sinai peninsula to
discourage Palestinians from crossing into Egypt.
"There were too many people and too much money coming in. All the
food is finished and the petrol is finished," said 36-year-old Mohamed
Farah, an Egyptian government employee.
Many shops in Rafah were shut on Monday due to lack of supplies and even those that were open had nearly empty shelves.
Mohamed Suleiman Mahmoud, who owns a small supermarket, said he had
ordered 20,000 Egyptian pounds of cheese, milk, fruit and vegetables
but the shipment was still being held up by Egyptian authorities at a
bridge linking Sinai with mainland Egypt.
A Reuters reporter saw hundreds of trucks carrying sugar, rice, medicine, livestock and carpets at the bridge on Monday.
And they are not getting through until the border is sealed again. And it better be soon, or else the Bedouins will engage in fire-fights with the palestinians, and things could end up getting ugly pretty damn quick!