This round of violence between Israeli Forces and Hamas has taken a human toll. More than 1000 rockets have been launched at Israeli targets and Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip have left more than 1500 injured and a death toll hovering at around 200.
Economically, even before Operation Protective Edge began, Palestinians living in Gaza were already facing approximately 40% unemployment according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. They also face rising prices of food and other necessities.
In Israel, though the Tel Aviv stock exchange has remained in satisfactory shape, the economic costs to other areas have been high. The US backed Iron Dome Missile Defense system costs hundreds of millions of dollars, and the cost of each missile it fires sits somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000.
According to Israeli army figures the system has brought down approximately 90% of its targets. It’s a statistic that has bought Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu political breathing room as events unfold "Experience has proved that at moments like this, we have to act responsibly and with a cool head and not with harsh words and impetuousness,” the Israeli Prime Minister said.
Israel’s Ha’aretz daily reports that Finance Minister Yair Lapid is confident that the costs of the $32.1 million per day military operation will fit in the army’s budget, but according to the report, others say the army will be seeking extra funding in the 2015 budget on top of the between $880 million to $1.5 Billion they were asking for before the operation began.
The Israel Tax Authority, armed with a budget of $1.6 billion, has already accepted approximately 600 property damage claims, worth between $7 and $9 million in compensation.
Though overall numbers were looking good for 2014, the tourism industry too has taken a hit. Israeli business newspaper Globes reported that, according to the Israel Hotel Assocation, 30-40% of tourists left Tel Aviv early over recent days, and 30% cancelled bookings. In Southern Israel, occupancy during this normally high travel season is at 20-30%.
Indeed, small business owners in southern cities such as Ashkelon, just north of the border with Gaza, report extremely low patronage numbers and fear that ongoing violence will continue to make their financial reality challenging to say the least.
Yaniv Arbiv, a coffee shop owner in an Israeli town not far from Gaza said, “I already spoke to my bank this morning, I asked them to be patient because I have an overdraft on my account. If no one will find a way to deal with small businesses like mine, I don’t believe they’ll survive. They’ll have to shut down. My business included. If I won’t bring money from the outside, and the state won’t help me, this business will shut down or I’ll have to sell.”