A picture taken on September 16, 2013 shows members of Hamas’ security forces standing guard in front of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip as demonstrators gather demanding it to be open permanently and without restrictions or conditions on the passengers. Hamas, who control the Gaza Strip, called the closure by Egypt of the Rafah border crossing a “crime against humanity”, since it is the only access to the coastal enclave not controlled by Israel. AFP PHOTO/SAID KHATIB

A delegation of Gazan businessmen and civil society personnel are scheduled to travel to Egypt from the Gaza Strip on Sunday, to partake in a conference discussing the current economic situation in the besieged coastal enclave.

Osama Kheil, a spokesman for the union of contractors in Gaza, told Ma’an on Saturday that 38 businessmen from the Gaza Strip were invited to the “Ain Sokhna 2” conference, organized by the National Center for Middle East Studies.
Conveners will also talk about strategies for coordination with Egyptian authorities in regards to the Rafah border — the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, which serves as a lifeline to the outside world for Gazans under siege — with the hopes of “keeping the border open as long as possible.”
The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas was elected to rule the territory. Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008, most recently in the summer of 2014.
The UN has said that the besieged Palestinian territory could become “uninhabitable” by 2020, as its 1.8 million residents remain in dire poverty due to the Israeli blockade that has crippled the economy, while continuing to experience slow-paced reconstruction efforts aimed at rebuilding homes for some 75,000 Palestinians who remain displaced since 2014.