Gaza’s Strawberries Taste Europe

Since the end of December 2009, 36 trucks loaded with strawberries and cut carnation flowers were permitted to leave Gaza for Israel’s Ashdod port, from which they were shipped to Europe. This is the first time since January 2008 that strawberries have managed to leave the 41 kilometer-long Strip. The flowers have been a little luckier – prior to December 2009, Israel permitted the export of 19 truckloads of flowers during the past 2.5 years of closure, mostly around Valentine’s Day. Continue reading

Posted in Movement of goods out of Gaza | 3 Comments

Militants Fire, Civilians Are Punished

The firing of rockets and mortar shells on towns in southern Israel from the Gaza Strip last week should be categorically condemned, since it targeted Israeli civilians or failed to distinguish between military and civilian targets. The perpetrators and the Hamas government which allows militant groups to fire from the territory under its control must be held accountable. The Israeli Defense Ministry’s hasty response, however, declaring that Kerem Shalom would be closed until further notice, raised concern among those trying to transfer humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Continue reading

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Who’s Afraid of a Tambourine?

Two months ago we wrote that Israel had prohibited the transfer of musical instruments into the Gaza Strip. In that post we quoted Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai’s response to a query submitted by Israeli parliamentarian Dov Khenin last July regarding the ban: “According to the information available, no applications to bring musical instruments into the Gaza Strip have been received for the past two years”, wrote the Deputy Defense Minister. Apparently we were mistaken – and so was the Deputy Defense Minister. Continue reading

Posted in Movement of goods into Gaza | 1 Comment

Has Israel forgotten the "reason" for Gaza's closure?

As news organizations report each detail of a possible prisoner release deal between Israel and Hamas, a related subject is receiving less attention: whether the release of the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, would lead to an opening of Gaza’s crossings, closed to all but the bare minimum passage of people and goods. Continue reading

Posted in Movement of goods into Gaza, Movement of people into Gaza, Movement of people out of Gaza | 1 Comment

Vaccinating Gaza

The closure of the Gaza Strip is tight enough to make life difficult for residents, but fences and checkpoints don’t prevent viruses from passing through, as became apparent earlier this month. Despite predictions that the closure of Gaza might protect it from exposure to the Swine Flu, the virus was identified in the Gaza Strip two weeks ago, and already some 185 people have been diagnosed as infected, 13 of whom have died. Continue reading

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NEWSFLASH: The Israeli MFA isn't telling the whole truth

On December 6th, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a newsletter highlighting the economic situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Though there are some miscalculations, for the most part the MFA’s data are accurate. The real problem is that the numbers appear without context. In this week’s post we provide context for the MFA’s (mostly) correct numbers. Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, Movement of goods into Gaza | 6 Comments

Surf's Up

It’s become almost common knowledge that on any given day, anywhere from 40-50 million liters of untreated or partially treated sewage flow from Gaza’s sewage treatment plants into the Mediterranean Sea, and an additional 20 million liters seep into the ground, threatening other water sources. The treatment plants, due to crossings policies blocking supply of fuel and spare parts, intermittent electricity supply, and years of de-development, are struggling to treat 70 million liters of sewage produced by Gaza’s 1.5 million residents each day. Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 3 Comments

Goods – Needs Vs. Supply – Nov 8 – Dec 5

Source: PalTrade, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Coordination Committee in Gaza Annual graph and background information»

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Running Out of Gas

The severe shortage of cooking gas in the Gaza Strip has attracted scant media and public attention over the past two months. Generally, since the closure was imposed in 2007, the average monthly amount of cooking gas that Israel allows into the Strip has met only 56% of needs in Gaza. Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 5 Comments

Is Increased Aid to Gaza Good News?

Last week Israel proudly boasted of a sharp increase in the transfer of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. This announcement coincided with the publication of a statement of concern by the European Union regarding the humanitarian situation in Gaza, noting that there has been no improvement since January 2009, when the war ended. Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, Movement of goods into Gaza | 8 Comments