A worker counts items at a supermarket in Gaza City January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
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Life began to look up for Gaza's Palestinians when reconciliation between its Hamas Islamist rulers and the occupied West Bank-based Palestinian Authority in October brought a drop in crippling prices. Three months on, discount stickers still adorn goods from clothes to cars but few of the 2 million people in the enclave blockaded by Israel are buying.The result is that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the PA, has not reversed a 30 percent wage cut he imposed in April on 60,000 civil servants who stayed on the PA's payroll when the authority lost control of Gaza to Hamas in 2007 .Many countries, concerned over deepening economic hardship in Gaza, have urged more open borders.Some 550 Gaza traders had permission to enter Israel as of December 2017, a drop of 85 percent since late 2015, according to a Palestinian committee that transfers entry requests to Israeli authorities.Tabbaa put current unemployment in Gaza at 46 percent.Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are still divided over the fate of 40,000 to 50,000 employees hired by Hamas since its 2007 takeover of Gaza.
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