Practice English everyday with VOA Special English

Thursday, November 15, 2012 | Latest audio lessons → VOA Learning English

iPhone 5 Selling Well in Gaza

Apple's new iPhone 5 is selling well in the Gaza Strip although people are paying high prices there. The new phone reached parts of the Gaza Strip through tunnels. They were smuggled into Gaza before the iPhone 5 went on sale in Israel.

Residents of Gaza are buying the smartphones for almost double the cost in the United States. The price of the phones has been raised by middlemen who bring them from Dubai through tunnels linking Gaza with Egypt.

The iPhone 5 will not be available until December from mobile operators in Israel. Israel and Egypt have put in place a partial blockade of Gaza to prevent the flow of arms and weapons. But Apple's smartphones have been available for weeks in the Gaza Strip. Reuters reports the phones were on display recently in three independent mobile technology stores in downtown Gaza City. Prices for the phones go from about $1170 for the 16 gigabyte model to $1480 for the 64 gigabyte version. Apple launched the iPhone 5 last month.

In the United States the 16 gigabyte version sells for about $650 while the 64 gigabyte version costs about $850. Apple does not have an official store in Gaza. The Islamist Hamas leadership is in conflict with Israel. An Israeli newspaper reported recently that the iPhone 5's new Apple maps application does not list Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Israel considers Jerusalem its capital.

For Palestinians living in Gaza, costs for all kinds of imports are inflated by middlemen and smugglers. Hamas adds sales tax at its end of the supply chain. But this has not stopped demand for the popular smartphones in the territory.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti.