Palestinian families sit at the "Maldive Gaza" cafe on a beach in Gaza City. Reuters
Mediterranean waves crash below patrons snacking on freshly-caught fish at the "Maldive gaza" cafe, offering a glimpse of paradise to Palestinians confined to the blockaded strip.
The new three-storey restaurant, protruding 15 metres over the rocky shoreline, also features the tropical juice drinks typical of the distant Indian Ocean Island after which it is named.
Many of Gaza’s 2 million Palestinians have never left the 360 sq km (140 sq mile) enclave, which Israel and Egypt have largely blockaded for years citing security concerns over its rulers Hamas.
"The people of Gaza can't go to the Maldives, so we said to ourselves: Why don't we bring the Maldives to them?" said Emad Al-Bayya, co-owner of the cafe, which seats 1,200 and which he hopes to expand.
It is one of several new seaside cafes bearing the names of dream travel destinations, Marbella, Dubai and Sharm el-Sheikh among them.
They offer a brief window onto a more exotic life to people "who have been subject to wars, pressures and blockades", said Rola Al-Agha, one of hundreds of patrons packed into "Maldive Gaza" on a pleasantly breezy evening last week.
Gaza has had no COVID-19 cases among the general public, and there are few curbs on social interactions.
WHO is helping Palestinians set up a limb reconstruction unit in Nasser hospital in southern Gaza.
Five Palestinians died on Sunday in surging cross-border fighting while Israel alleged that rockets from Gaza killed three people in an Israeli city.
The dangerous escalation in Gaza and the tragic loss of innocent lives is a matter of deep concern, as it will further bruise the already-tottering peace efforts. Among the Palestinians killed by the Israeli strikes were a pregnant woman and her 14-month-old niece, which is a clear indication
The United Nations has warned that its agencies providing food assistance to Gaza must raise tens of millions of dollars within weeks to avoid significant aid cuts and the matter is too serious to be ignored by the world community. It should be noted that the World Food Programme and its agency for Palestinian refugees,
With Afghanistan's economy deep in crisis - billions of dollars in aid and reserves have been cut off and ordinary people have little money even for basics.
It sits in a rugged, inaccessible valley along the Harirud River, well off Afghanistan’s tourist track even in the 1960s, when the country was a magnet for hardy Western travellers.
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