Exit of goods from Gaza via Kerem Shalom Crossing
Several main sectors of Gaza’s economy rely on selling goods outside the Strip, including the textile, furniture, manufacturing, and agriculture industries. Since November 6, 2014, Israel has allowed the sale of some Gaza-made and -grown goods in the West Bank. On March 12, 2015 Israel also began allowing the sale of some agricultural products from Gaza in Israel, for one year only, due to the Jewish custom of shmita (allowing Jewish-owned agricultural land to lay fallow on a seven year cycle). All goods originating in Gaza are shipped through Kerem Shalom Crossing, between Gaza and Israel.
Under the AMA, signed in 2005, Israel agreed to allow 400 trucks to leave Gaza daily, according to its estimates regarding Gaza’s export potential. In 2005 alone, almost 10,000 trucks left Gaza – most of the goods they were carrying were sold in Israel, about a quarter in the West Bank and the rest overseas.
After the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, Israel banned all shipments of goods out of Gaza, with the exception of a limited number of agricultural products approved for export to Europe as part of a Dutch government sponsored project. Until then, 85% of the goods shipped out of Gaza were sold in Israel and the West Bank. In December 2010, Israel began allowing export of non-agricultural products abroad, including light industry products. However, due to difficulties making business connections with foreign companies as well as high shipping costs, only few non-agricultural products were actually exported abroad.
From the time the closure was imposed in June 2007 to November 2014, a monthly average of 13.5 trucks left Gaza to foreign destinations, most of them carrying agricultural goods – just one percent of the monthly average of goods shipped out just prior to the closure.
On November 6, 2014, for the first time since 2007, Israel allowed Gaza-made and -grown goods to be sold in the West Bank. Permission was initially given only for agricultural goods, but later expanded to the textile and furniture industries. On March 12, 2015, Israel allowed the sale of a few types of agricultural goods from Gaza in its own territory. Between November 2014 and March 2015, 74 trucks left Gaza on average every month. Despite the increase in the number of trucks exiting Gaza, they still account for only 7% of the monthly average of trucks exiting Gaza prior to the closure.