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Sparse trees, little work for woodcutters in squeezed Gaza

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Sparse trees, little work for woodcutters in squeezed Gaza

With a chainsaw in his car, Ahmed Abdelal tours the Gaza Strip, asking around for people wanting to cut down trees, regrow orchards or make way for construction.

One of the few remaining woodcutters in the Palestinian territory, Abdelal, who learned woodcutting from his father, is struggling to scratch out a living in a traditional job that is less and less in demand.

Job opportunities are rare in this Palestinian enclave wedged between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea, and so are green spaces. Rapid population growth — more than 2 million people are crammed in a 360-square-kilometer (140 square mile) strip — comes at the expense of arable land.

Israel maintains a 300-meter (330-yard) wide buffer zone along its frontier with Gaza. At the the height of the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s, its military bulldozers leveled large swaths of citrus groves in the border areas.

In more recent years, Gaza has suffered under a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Islamic militant Hamas group seized control of the territory from the Palestinian Authority in 2007. Israel says the restrictions are needed to prevent Hamas from upgrading its weapons. The Palestinian Authority, or PA, holds sway in the West Bank.

The blockade and the rift between Hamas and the PA have weakened Gaza's energy sector. As a result, residents are put on a rotating electricity schedule of eight-hours on, followed by an eight-hour blackout.


Cutting trees is bad for global warming, so he needs to learn a new trade in this PC economy.

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