Daily Israel Report

iPhone 5 Frenzy in Gaza Despite So-Called 'Harsh Blockade'

Apple’s pricey new iPhone 5 is selling like hotcakes in Gaza despite inflated prices and Israel's so-called "harsh blockade."
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 10/17/2012, 10:25 AM

iphones being sold in Gaza
iphones being sold in Gaza
Reuters

Apple’s pricey new iPhone 5 is selling like hotcakes in the Gaza Strip despite inflated prices and is being smuggled into the Hamas-ruled enclave even before it has reached Israel.

The latest version of Apple’s sought-after iPhone is being sold for almost double its price in the United States, ranging from 4,500 Israeli shekels ($1,170) for the 16-gigabyte model to 5,700 ($1,480) for 64 gigabytes.

Its price has increased significantly due to middlemen who smuggle the smartphones into Gaza via tunnels linking the territory with Egypt. 

The iPhone 5 will not be available until December from mobile operators in Israel, which along with Egypt maintains a limited blockade of Gaza in order to prevent the smuggling of weapons, which will then be directed against Israel by terrorists in Gaza.

The phones, however, have already been available for a couple of weeks in the Hamas-ruled territory and were on display on Monday in three independent mobile stores in Gaza City.

“I ordered 30 and I've sold 20 so far,” one dealer said, according to Al-Arabiya, “we can order as many as we want, but most people are waiting for the price to go down, they're pretty expensive.”

The iPhone 5, launched last month, sells for $650 and $850 for the 16 and 64-gigabyte versions respectively in the United States.

But the hefty mark-ups and high costs are not preventing buyers from purchasing the revered product.

One of the dealers in Gaza, where Apple has no store or official dealership, said “there are always some people prepared to pay whatever they must, just to be the first to have the latest thing.”

“This, you’ll recall, is the same Gaza that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon characterized in an address to the UN Human Rights Council last month as suffering ‘unremitting poverty’ due to Israel’s ‘harsh’ blockade, a humanitarian crisis so grave that he devoted more of his speech to Gaza and the Palestinians than he did to the slaughter in Syria, where the death toll is over 30,000 and rising daily. It’s also the same Gaza that a UN report in August said would be ‘unliveable’ by 2020 if the blockade continued,” explains Commentary Magazine’s Evelyn Gordon.

“The first obvious lesson of these stories is that Gaza’s “humanitarian crisis” is a fiction propagated by UN bureaucrats, “human rights” organizations and complicit journalists,” Gordon goes on to state.