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The Gaza Strip has received its first car shipment in three years, after an economic blockade left the territory devoid of goods like cars, unless they were smuggled in via illegal tunnels originating in Egypt.
The cars, mostly Hyundai and Kia models, are a mixture of new and used models that have come from Israel. Cars, including Hyundais, can be sold for vastly inflated prices in Gaza, which has been hit by sanctions after Hamas, an Islamic fundamentalist government, took control of the territory.
Despite the grinding poverty, it turns out that a portion of the population can afford to buy new cars, as evidenced by this video, showing a Chevrolet Cruze going for $45,000.
For all the scare-mongering you see on the evening news, the most interesting thing about my trip to the West Bank was seeing some Palestinian hoonage undertaken by a couple youths in a beat-up Toyota. It was nothing more than some peel-outs and a poor attempt at doing donuts, but it was cool to see that enthusiasm for cars exists even when hope for a better future is dim. For residents of the Gaza Strip however, obtaining a car is a massive undertaking in itself.
Blockaded by both Israel and Egypt (the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas administers the territory, and is a common enemy of both countries), the basic necessities of life are hard to come by. This video, shot by the BBC, shows a bulldozer pulling a Hyundai Elantra into the Gaza strip through an underground tunnel – the only way it could be imported. With about 200 cars on the road, the Elantra should stand out. Interestingly enough, a similar car is only $7000 cheaper inside Israel, perhaps owing to the high taxes on vehicles in the country.
[Source: BBC News]