For the first time since 2007, non-agricultural goods are cleared for export from the Gaza Strip, though not for sale in the West Bank
• Why are Gaza residents allowed to market goods via Israel and the West Bank to Jordan but not market goods in those places?
• Since June 2007, not a single product from the Gaza Strip has been allowed to be sold in Israel or the West Bank – once Gaza’s traditional markets.
• These restrictions have paralyzed the manufacturing sector in the Gaza Strip and led to high unemployment rates.
Yesterday one truckload of furniture from six factories left the Gaza Strip for a furniture expo in Jordan taking place on January 24-26th. The truck made its way via Israel and the West Bank after first undergoing rigorous security checks.
Gisha welcomes the security establishment’s decision to allow Gaza furniture makers to develop new markets for their products in Jordan. The shipment of the furniture to Jordan proves that the marketing of these and other kinds of products can also take place in both the West Bank and Israel itself – Gaza’s traditional markets.
Since 2007, there has been a blanket ban on marketing goods from Gaza to the West Bank and Israel, which has led to the near paralysis of Gaza's manufacturing sector. Israel and the West Bank were once the destination for 85% of the goods sold outside of the Strip before the ban was imposed. Some 83% of Gaza’s factories have been either shut down or are operating at 50% capacity or lower. The unemployment rate stands at 28%, as opposed to 15.5% in 2000.
The security establishment has explained that the ban on the marketing of Gaza's goods in the West Bank and Israel is part of the "separation policy" – a term that does not appear in official government or cabinet decisions, and a policy whose components have never been described and whose political and security rationale has not been explained.
Despite the trickle of goods which are permitted to reach Europe, and now also Jordan, the potential for real economic benefit remains blocked to manufacturers in Gaza. For example, Muhammad Yihya Najar, the owner of a furniture factory in Gaza, won a bid to supply desks and tables to schools in the West Bank. His request to transfer the items was rejected.
Gisha Director Sari Bashi: “In order to implement the promise to allow economic development for residents of Gaza, it's not enough to allow Gaza's products to transverse the roads of Israel and the West Bank. They must be able to actually reach markets there”.
For current information about the civilian closure, click here.
For graphs detailing export from Gaza click here.