For the first time since 2007: Furniture from Gaza was shipped to the West Bank

Photo. Mohammad Azaiza – GishaSeptember 27, 2012. Today, for the first time since 2007, furniture made in the Gaza Strip was shipped to the West Bank. The merchandise, ordered by the Palestinian Ministry of Education in the West Bank, includes thousands of parts for school chairs and desks. It was transported in four double trailer trucks via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Yahya a-Najar, the owner of the Gaza furniture factory that produced the merchandise after winning the West Bank Ministry of Education contract said today: “We welcome the decision to allow transfer of furniture from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. This time, the Quartet, the European Union and other institutions pushed for this to happen. We hope more restrictions are lifted in the future so that more products are allowed to leave Gaza for the West Bank and that these include orders from private sector too, rather than just from the Palestinian Authority. This would, no doubt, have a positive impact on the Palestinian economy, mostly in the Gaza Strip”.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the West Bank has recently put out a news release claiming that, “Export of textile and furniture from Gaza to Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] for the Palestinian Authority has begun”. Textile sales from Gaza to the West Bank have not yet resumed.

We welcome the positive development reflected in the transport of furniture, but we would also like to remind that the amount of goods currently exiting Gaza are a fraction of those shipped out in the past. In 2005, 100 truckloads of furniture left Gaza each month on average. Generally speaking, until 2007, 85% of the goods shipped out of Gaza were sold in the West Bank and Israel. We hope that these trucks pave the way for renewing trade routes between Gaza and the West Bank and Israel in addition to the trade that goes on today, in the opposite direction.