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World

AFP
August 9, 2019

Eid reprieve: Palestinian economic woes save sacrificial lambs

World

AFP
Fri, Aug 09, 2019

NABLUS, Palestinian Territories: The financial crisis in the Palestinian territories is causing hard times for residents but may lead to an unexpected reprieve for many sheep.

Ahead of Eid al-Adha, the feast of the sacrifice, better-off Palestinians, like Muslims across the globe, traditionally buy whole sheep to be slaughtered when the holidays begin on Sunday.

But this year the financial crisis has hit sales, farmers and officials say.

Government employees have for months had to survive on half salaries due to a political dispute between the Israeli and Palestinian governments.

"There are no orders for sacrifices as usual," Ashraf Murar, head of the large Al-Bireh abattoir in the central West Bank, told AFP.

"It is the worst year in 20 years," he added, saying 30,000 sheep were going unsold.

Butcher Mohammed Faara said his sales were down 70 percent on last year.

"The situation is very miserable, I have contacts with other butchers and all (have this)."

At a market in Nablus in the northern West Bank, sheep trader Essam Adbullah said prices had been reduced from nearly $10 dollars a kilo last year to around $8 in a bid to boost sales.

"But nobody´s buying," he said.

"This year there´s a major recession. Due to the (lack of) salaries for government employees, there is no money in the markets."

Gross domestic product barely grew across the Palestinian territories in 2018, while unemployment is running at 30 percent, according to the World Bank.

This year´s figure may be worse after the cash-strapped government cut civil servant salaries to between 50 and 60 percent because of the crisis.