Layla Kaiksow and Reema AbuShaheen explain no amount of investment dollars can change the painful Israeli-made facts on the ground for Palestinian manufacturers and entrepreneurs. “Economic development without statehood has gotten us to this point, and that point is nowhere.”
Friends warned Sabreen al-Jabary opening a dress shop in the Gaza Strip was risky as the shopfront, her home, is located in a far from upscale or middle class areas. Her house is next to a cemetery. Customers would be hard to arrange. But she has no choice.
Qatar first began funding Gaza in 2012, in conjunction with the rise to power of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and has since sent more than $1 billion. But the Gaza Strip suffers from the world’s highest rate of unemployment and poverty, and Qatari money hasn’t reduced the decline. “To really address the humanitarian crisis, we need to find solutions, not just temporary relief,” says Yahya Qaoud, a political researcher with the Palestinian Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies.