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While such professions have shrunk worldwide in the face of globalization and Chinese mass production, Gazan business owners say Israel's 12-year blockade of the territory has accelerated the trend.That changed after 2007, when Hamas overran Gaza, and Israel and Egypt responded by sealing Gaza's borders. Abu Sido laid off his 15 workers and ceased operations the following year.Israel blames the situation on the armed Hamas, which opposes Israel's existence.In recent months, Israel has launched a number of "pilot" programs to allow Gaza businesses to export. Things worsened after the blockade, and owner Tareq Khalaf said he began laying off his 30 full-time workers.Atallah said he couldn't export to the West Bank and Israel, which absorbed up to 90 percent of his pottery before the blockade.
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