Gaza Families Forced to Sell Jewellery and Life Savings to Afford Food and Drink

(وكالة أنباء العالم العربي) - After leaving behind all his belongings in Gaza City, displaced Palestinian Mahmoud Qaoud, who fled to Deir al-Balah with nothing but the clothes on his back, says he has been forced to sell his wife’s gold ring to afford food and drink for his children.

Stalls trading gold and exchanging currency have notably spread across Deir al-Balah and Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Alaa Safi, who was forced by the war to work as a gold and currency trader, said, “Today, anyone who has gold will sell it due to the country’s dire situation. People need to eat and drink, and the economic situation is very bad in Gaza. We exchange currencies between the [Israeli] shekel and [US] dollars to make some money.”

Others like Abdulmajid al-Kurd are gold and currency merchants by profession. His stall is witnessing significant demand from people compelled to sell their precious possessions for food.

Al-Kurd said, “This has been my profession for 40 years. I am forced to do this work. I cannot sit at home with my family while having to support perhaps 50 people. Here we are at this stall, seven people, including guards, security, and others. We are forced to do this work.”

He explained, “We had a gold factory here that has stopped working. We have to do this work to survive … People are selling their savings against their will. They even sell savings that are a hundred years old. A man came to me and sold me a pound sterling that he had inherited from his grandfather from the days when the British were in Palestine. Everyone is selling their savings to buy food.”

Al-Kurd concluded, “People are poor. Six months [of war]… How long can the people hold out for after more than six months? They have sold all their savings and have nothing left - neither dollars, nor dinars, nor euros, nor sterling. They sold everything they were holding on to.”

International organisations say that the vast majority of Gaza’s population, estimated at around 2.3 million Palestinians, have been displaced and are living in dire conditions since the beginning of the Israeli war on the strip in October 2023.