Monday, March 23, 2009

Palestinians in Gaza Have No Meat to Eat as Chicken Prices Hike

Photo: Rafah Today

China View (via Xinhua), March 23, 2009 -
In Remal neighborhood in Gaza City, Ahmed Mattar, 56, asked Abu Omar Abu Karsh, who sells chicken in a store across the street, about the price of a slaughtered chicken.

He was surprised when he learnt that a net kilogram of a slaughtered chicken now costs 35 Shekels (9 U.S. dollars).

Mattar, a physician who works at one of Gaza hospitals and has a family of five children, said "I used to buy two slaughtered chicken per week, each weighs 2 kilograms and I used to pay 25 Shekels for each kilogram. It is really so expensive."

Most of the meals the Gaza households cooked were made up of chicken due to the increasing prices of beef and lamb meat, but the recent Israeli war against the territory, together with previous restrictions, made the prices of chicken skyrocketing.

"Chicken is the only meat that the poor can afford but the increase of the prices forced the people to turn away from buying and my sales decreased by 90 percent," Abu Karsh said as he sat idly in his once the busiest shop.

Before the 22-day offensive, which started in December, the price of the living chicken was between 10 to 12 Israeli Shekels per one kilogram. Nowadays, the prices jumped for 100 percent, said Abu Karsh.

The net kilogram of slaughtered chicken, which used to be sold for around 25 Shekels, is now sold for 35 Shekels "and during the war we sold it for 55 Shekels," according to Abu Karsh.

During the war, the Israeli bulldozers completely destroyed three of the 11 chicken hatcheries while two more suffered variable degrees of damage.

The majority of the Gaza families have already given up the fresh meat since one kilogram cost 70 Shekels, compared with 30 Shekels a few years ago. Now people are dependent on the limited amounts of frozen meat and fish Israel allowed in.

Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2007 after Hamas seized control of the territory....

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