While Hamas continues to complain that Gaza lacks building materials, a luxury mall in Gaza City held its grand opening over the weekend. Among the goods on sale are Israeli men's clothing, and items from Turkey, France, and the United States.
Photojournalist Tom Gross, who publicized photos from Saturday's event on his website, noted that the opening coincided with a visit to Gaza from European Union foreign policy director Catherine Ashton. "The BBC and other media have featured extensive reports all day long on what they term the dire economic situation in Gaza; why are they not mentioning the new shopping mall that opened there yesterday?” Gross asked.
Pictures of the new mall were featured on the Palestinian Authority Safa website and by the Associated Press.
A variety of stores sell cosmetics, clothing, office supplies, toys, shoes, appliances and more. The mall boasts air conditioning and a delivery service.
Hamas has often accused Israel of creating a “siege” by keeping its border crossings to Gaza closed. According to Hamas, Gaza lacks electricity and building supplies.
Gross, who has previously posted pictures of fancy restaurants, shops filled with goods, and even an Olympic-size swimming pool during the “Israeli siege,” pointed out that Gaza enjoys a higher standard of living than Turkey, which recently sent citizens on a flotilla to Gaza in violation of an Israeli naval blockade of Hamas. Noting that life expectancy and literacy rates are higher in Gaza than in Turkey, while infant mortality rates are lower, he asked, “Have they considered that perhaps the humanitarian flotillas ought to be going in the other direction, towards Turkey?”
Despite the bargain prices, Israelis are advised that it is forbidden to enter Gaza.