A week after Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel allows agricultural export from Gaza abroad

Ilustration: stock.xchg December 3, 2012. Yesterday, Israel allowed transit of export from Gaza through its territory. Over the last two days, 9 trucks of strawberries (19 tons), one truck of cherry tomatoes (8.6 tons) and one truck of basil (300 kg) and chives (200 kg) left the Gaza Strip.*

During the hostilities and for a week after the ceasefire, Israel prohibited the export of agricultural products from Gaza, delaying the export of 45 tons of strawberries, 11 tons of basil, 5 tons of chives and 5 tons of cherry tomatoes. Gaza farmers estimated the losses they incurred as a result of the delay to be about 1.5 million shekels.

The export of strawberries from Gaza to Europe was scheduled to begin on November 20th, earlier than suppliers from other countries begin exporting. The early export gives Gaza farmers a competitive advantage thus ensuring greater revenues, but because of the escalation, the agricultural export season did not begin on time. Only four trucks carrying agricultural products have left the Gaza Strip since the beginning of November.

Since the beginning of this year, on average, 17 trucks left Gaza every month, which is about 2% of the monthly average of trucks which left Gaza before the closure was imposed.

* Gisha counts Palestinian truckloads, which can, in general, accommodate larger quantities than Israeli trucks arriving to Kerem Shalom.

Entry of goods
The Kerem Shalom crossing was opened for entrance of goods into Gaza on only two days during the week in which the fighting took place (November 14 – 21). On some of the days, Israeli authorities cited that Kerem Shalom was closed due to mortar fire on the crossing. The crossing normally operates five days per week.

During this week, 97 truckloads of goods entered the Gaza Strip – about 10% of the quantity that had entered the week before. For comparison – on an ordinary day, between 200 and 300 trucks enter the Gaza Strip carrying food, consumer goods, basic building materials for international organizations and more.

Over the course of the fighting, basic products such as food, medicine and animal feed entered Gaza. It is important to note that Gisha was not aware of any food shortages in the Gaza Strip during this period. However, there was a serious shortage of cooking gas (kerosene), as insufficient quantities entered due to the closure of the crossing.

Rafah Crossing
During the hostilities, an average of 1,000 people traveled through the Rafah crossing in both directions every day, some being members of foreign delegations. In the last four months, the daily average of people traveling through Rafah Crossing in both directions was 1,500.

Erez Crossing
In total, 92 foreign nationals and 101 Palestinians traveled through the Erez crossing during the week of the military operation. For reference, over the last few months, the daily average of Palestinians exiting through Erez was 150.