How Gaza’s entrepreneurial spirit could change the narrative of despair

A new report by the Israeli human rights organization Gisha, which surveyed small businesses in the Gaza Strip, provides a clear validation to the approach of microfinance. The very idea that against the backdrop of siege and oppression can emerge an entrepreneurial private sector, as tiny as it is, is a great victory for the human spirit and a testament to the Gazan people, considering the dire conditions in this small enclave, which is home to nearly 2 million people.
Since a land, sea and air blockade was imposed on Gaza by Israel, the stories coming out of this small and highly populated piece of territory are always of war, suffering, poverty and unemployment. Hence the report’s stories are heart-warming. For instance, there is Sumah Al-Nahal, a communications studies graduate from Al-Aqsa University in Gaza who started a jewelry and card business; Shadi Salameh, who owns a mobile phone sale and repair business; or Hanan Khashan, an independent digital marketing consultant. The very idea that against the backdrop of siege and oppression can emerge an entrepreneurial private sector, as tiny as it is, is a great victory for the human spirit and a testament to the Gazan people.