Economic gains amid Gaza’s pain

Che Ran

Gaza’s nightmare is happening live, under the unforgiving gaze of the world. – Pixabay pic, June 21, 2024.

IN a world where words are supposed to mean something, where commitments are supposed to stand firm against the winds of convenience, the recent trade statistics from the Middle East read not just as numbers, but as stark betrayals etched into the ledger of international relations. They reveal a jarring contradiction, a searing irony that cuts deep into the narrative of unity and shared struggles.

Let’s talk about Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan—nations bonded by a common religious and cultural heritage, historically voices in the chorus of support for Palestine. Yet, as Israel pressed on with a devastating assault on Gaza, these countries didn’t just maintain their economic engagements with Israel; they doubled down.

In May 2024, Egyptian exports to Israel hit a staggering $25 million, a clear doubling from the previous year, right amid smoke and ruin raining down on Gaza. Similarly, trade from the UAE and Jordan saw significant upticks. This isn’t just business as usual; it’s business increased, as if the market can’t get enough of this bitter irony.

Meanwhile, the Israeli war machine, fueled perhaps by these economic boosts, churns on. Energy and security cooperation intensifies, gas flows more freely than empathy, and dollars seem to drown out the calls for ceasefire and humanity. How can this be the reality in a region so scarred by conflict, where every artillery shell and airstrike reverberates through the hearts of those who dare to remember and feel?

And then there’s Turkey, standing in stark contrast—a nation that has seemingly put its money where its mouth is, halving its exports to Israel and rerouting trade through third countries like Greece in a declared stand against the ongoing violence.

This move, while potent in symbolism, also unveils the murky waters of international trade, where goods can change tags and origins like cloaks of convenience, bypassing embargoes and moral stances with equal ease.

The figures are cold, hard, and as sharp as glass shards. Israel’s trade with Egypt alone grew by 56 percent in 2023 and surged by an astonishing 168 percent in just the last quarter. Meanwhile, the broader scene is no less dramatic, with Turkish goods slipping through the cracks of embargoes, Greek ports becoming unwitting accomplices in a trade charade, all while the streets of Gaza bear the true cost of these economic games.

This scenario lays bare a stark truth: in the grand chessboard of Middle Eastern geopolitics, human lives, promises, and solidarity often find themselves pawns in a game where economic interests rule as king. As trade lines thicken and deepen, the lines on the faces of those suffering the consequences tell a different story—a narrative of loss, betrayal, and the merciless grind of industry that waits for no man, woman, or child.

This isn’t just about numbers. It’s about every value we claim to hold dear, every principle we preach but fail to practice when the ledgers come out and the ships set sail. How long can this duality persist? How long before the people of these nations hold their leaders to account, demanding that trade flows do not wash away the foundations of justice and human rights?

It’s a scene set for outrage, for action. The data doesn’t just speak; it screams, it accuses. It’s time to listen. – June 21, 2024.

* Che Ran is a writer and entrepreneur with a keen focus on politics and international affairs. An avid traveller, Che Ran’s experiences enrich his photography and writings.

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