Elements of stylish, civilised Gaza have survived its darkest decade. Palestinian businessman Basil Eleiwa believes his city could become a world tourist hub – but are Gaza and its people holding out for a future that will never arrive?
As you chat with Basil Eleiwa over a chilled strawberry-and-fresh-lemonade cocktail in his 11th-floor restaurant Level Up, it’s surprisingly easy to believe him when he predicts that his native city could yet become one of the great tourist hubs of the Middle East.
With breathtaking views from its terrace, of the sea to the west and over the city to the north and east, you can understand why it’s become a favourite haunt of the middle class here – whether it’s the young women (many with head coverings, some more daringly without) and men sipping tea and sucking water pipes filled with sweet-flavoured tobacco delivered by a narghila man in a fez, or the families out for an evening treat enjoying caesar salads or pepper steaks brought to their tables by impeccably black-tunicked waiters. It could be a popular hangout in Dubai or Sharm El Sheikh – only classier.