The Washington Post

Hamas raises taxes in impoverish­ed Gaza

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The Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers have imposed a slew of new taxes on imported clothes and office supplies just ahead of the new school year, sparking limited but rare protests in the impoverish­ed coastal enclave.

The move by the militant group comes as Gaza’s 2.3 million people are suffering not only from a 15year Israeli-egyptian blockade, but also from a jump in prices caused by global supply-chain issues and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A list by the Economy Ministry includes planned taxes on items like packaged nuts, with an import tariff of 2,000 shekels (nearly $600) per ton. In the past, nuts were imported tax-free. The tariff on a ton of toilet paper rose from $90 to $580. The taxes are set to go into effect Aug. 1.

The list also includes a tax of about $3 on a pair of jeans and $230 on a ton of plastic folders used to store papers.

Gaza’s economy has been hit hard by the Israeli-egyptian blockade, imposed when Hamas seized power in 2007. Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent Hamas from procuring arms, but critics say the restrictio­ns amount to collective punishment.

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