Israel bans sale of Gaza strawberries in the West Bank

לסוחרים מעזה מלכתחילה לא היתה אפשרות להעביר את התותים לישראל. תותים מעזהGaza merchants had no way of transporting the strawberries to Israel in the first place. Gaza strawberries. Photo by Mohammed Azaiza

Gaza merchants had no way of transporting the strawberries to Israel in the first place. Gaza strawberries. Photo by Mohammed Azaiza

January 13, 2015. The Palestinian agricultural coordinator in Gaza told Gisha that last week that Israel decided to prohibit the sale of strawberries from Gaza in the West Bank, after strawberry cartons from Gaza were found in Israeli markets.

The coordinator said that Israel made the decision to prohibit the sale of Gaza strawberries in the West Bank in response to protests from Israeli farmers, despite the fact that Gaza merchants had no way of transporting the strawberries to Israel in the first place and had no hand in the matter.

In November 2014, Israel began allowing the sale of agricultural and other goods from Gaza in the West Bank. In November, one truck carrying 4.5 tons of strawberries departed Gaza for the West Bank. In December, 21 trucks left Gaza for the West Bank, carrying 75.8 tons of strawberries. Twenty-eight more truckloads of strawberries left Gaza that month, with shipments destined for Europe and Russia as part of a humanitarian project subsidized by the Dutch government.

Gisha supports making the West Bank and Israeli markets accessible to Gaza’s manufacturing sector and Gaza traders, in order to give the Palestinian economy, especially in the Gaza Strip, a chance at recovery. When challenges arise regarding to where the goods are routed, they must be dealt with in a professional manner rather than by completely banning the shipment of goods, which punishes individuals who are not responsible for the situation.