Palestinians who are unable to pay off their debts, sit in a cell in a Hamas jail in Gaza City on February 20, 2018. AFP / MAHMUD HAMS
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Sameh al-Madhoun's eyes fill with tears as he recalls his fall from successful businessman to prisoner in a Hamas jail in Gaza. Once the owner of a flourishing car dealership, he is one of more than 40,000 Gazans charged in the last year with failing to keep up debt payments as the economy in the Palestinian enclave collapses.Madhoun, a 40-year-old father of four, has sold most of his possessions, including his house and some of his cars, in a bid to pay back the $3 million debt that dragged his business into bankruptcy.The economy of Gaza, a Palestinian enclave of around 2 million people sandwiched between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean sea, is "all but dead," said Maher Tabba, an official at the territory's Chamber of Commerce.Israel has maintained a blockade of Gaza since 2007 which it says is needed to isolate Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since 2008 .
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