Shalom Life | September 16, 2014

Luxury Mall Opens in Gaza City

Grand opening ignored by most media correspondents in the area.

By: Dan Verbin

Published: July 20th, 2010 in News » Israel

Luxury Mall Opens in Gaza City

Though Hamas maintains that the Gaza Strip still suffers from a lack of construction material and continues to accuse Israel of pursuing a “siege” against the enclave by keeping border crossings shut, a luxury mall held its grand opening over the weekend in Gaza City.

The mall would not have been out of place in any Western country. Opening mere weeks after Israel announced that it would ease its Gaza blockade after mounting international pressure, it features “Israeli men’s trousers at an attractive price”, American-made men’s shirts, girl’s clothes from France and boy’s clothes from Turkey, according to an Israeli blog.

The “Gaza Mall” – the first mall to open in Gaza in the four years since Hamas took power – has air conditioning, a large supermarket, a food court, a parking lot and security guards. It also offers to deliver purchases to customers’ homes.

According to Arabic website Paltimes, the mall will include “all the supplies needed by the family” with prices that will be “low in nature and attractive.” A wide range of products will be available, food, clothing, perfumes, shoes, household appliances and office supplies.

The manager of the mall, Salah Abu Abdo, was quoted as saying, “The opening of the (Gaza Mall) under the conditions of the continuing siege on the Gaza Strip and at low prices encourages Gazan citizens to buy (and) is a great achievement." He added that Gazan families can use their computers to shop from home by using the e-shopping service.

Political and media commentator Tom Gross, who featured photos of the mall on his blog, www.tomgrossmedia.com, asked on his blog why the media has largely shied away from covering the mall’s opening, while instead focusing on EU Senior Foreign Affairs Representative Catherine Ashton’s weekend visit to Gaza and her Sunday morning statement that Israel should lift the blockade on Gaza.

For example, Sky News stated in an article on Saturday, “A month after Israel announced it was easing its blockade of Gaza, food supplies are getting better. But the overall humanitarian situation remains dire.”

Gross commented: “On a day when (because EU Foreign Policy Chief Baroness Ashton is in Gaza) 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?”

In a posting on Huffington Post, Jacob Shrybman, the Assistant Director of the Sderot Media Center, wrote about the mall’s opening. He criticized UNRWA President John Ging for stating on the same day as the mall opened that Gazans "can't afford to buy cans of Coca Cola from Israel." Shrybman wrote, “But they can afford new clothes, luxury hair products, and children's toys at the new Gaza ‘Strip Mall?’ Is John Ging kidding me? The UN gave nearly $200 million in aid to Gaza in just the six months following Operation Cast Lead. It only gave $10 million in aid to Haiti following the devastating earthquake.”

Photos of the mall – some taken by Associated Press, though it has not written about the opening – show a sleek, modern, two-floor edifice complete with multi-coloured balloons and throngs of happy shoppers. Stores are packed with products ranging from women’s cosmetics to children’s toys. There are carnival activities for kids, including clowns and face painting a children’s clothing store features a pink Mickey Mouse-type mascot waving at passersby.

Though there is pervasive poverty in the Gaza Strip, there is also a flourishing upper class – an elite group made up of Hamas officials, people with high level positions in NGOs or jobs with foreign consulates, and well-paid UN workers. There are also smugglers and local crime bosses whose wealth stems from booming business skirting Israel’s blockade.

Gross’s blog also contains photos of other luxury attractions that have opened up in Gaza, including an Olympic-size swimming pool and the Roots Club in Gaza, a restaurant that has a 12-page menu with gourmet fare like steak au poivre and chicken cordon bleu.

“As I have written before, of course there is poverty in parts of Gaza,” wrote Gross. “There is poverty in parts of Israel too. But when was the last time a foreign journalist based in Israel left the pampered lounge bars and restaurants of the King David and American Colony hotels in Jerusalem and went to check out the slum-like areas of southern Tel Aviv? Or the hard-hit Negev towns of Netivot or Rahat?”

Hollywood Unites to Defy Hamas in New York Times Ad Hollywood Unites to Defy Hamas in New York Times Ad TrendingIraqi Show Depicts ISIS Leader as the Spawn of Satan and a Jewish Woman [VIDEO] Iraqi Show Depicts ISIS Leader as the Spawn of Satan and a Jewish Woman [VIDEO] TrendingUJA Federation’s Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre Receives Capital Grant from the Government of Canada UJA Federation’s Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre Receives Capital Grant from the Government of Canada Trending
 

Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Presents the Class of 2014

September 16, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Presents the Class of 2014

Former Chicago Cubs star Adam Greenberg inducted, as well as tennis players Angela Buxton and Jay Berger, and others

Read More

German ISIS Member Used to Play for Jewish Soccer Team

September 16, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
German ISIS Member Used to Play for Jewish Soccer Team

20-year-old Kreshnik Berisha is on trial in Germany for his affiliation to the Islamic State

Read More

Hamas Admits to Launching Rockets from Civilian Areas

September 16, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Hamas Admits to Launching Rockets from Civilian Areas

New reports confirm that the terrorist organization did in fact shoot rockets into Israel from dense civilian areas

Read More

World's Oldest Siddur En Route to the Holy Land

September 15, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
World's Oldest Siddur En Route to the Holy Land

The 1,200-year-old Biblical text, in tact with a Passover Haggadah and Sabbath prayers, will be put on display at the Bible Lands Museum

Read More

Michael Jackson Hologram Inspires Hitler Pictures and Gun Threats

September 15, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Michael Jackson Hologram Inspires Hitler Pictures and Gun Threats

Alki David went threatened John Textor several times after losing a court battle over the Michael Jackson hologram at the Billboard Awards.

Read More

Mayim Bialik Slams Ariana Grande Billboard, Patriarchal Society

September 15, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Mayim Bialik Slams Ariana Grande Billboard, Patriarchal Society

The 'Big Bang Theory' actress doesn't want her children looking at women in lingerie on billboards.

Read More

Howard Stern Defends Himself Against Rabbi's Attack

September 15, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Howard Stern Defends Himself Against Rabbi's Attack

The 'America's Got Talent' judge was condemned by Rabbi Potasnik over Joan Rivers' eulogy

Read More

The Nosh Pit - Homemade Bagel Recipes

September 15, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
The Nosh Pit - Homemade Bagel Recipes

Everyone loves bagels, but who actually knows how to make them? Impress your friends when you pull freshly baked New York style bagels out of your oven.

Read More

More Headlines