Asking about the West Bank is like asking about another country

May 4, 2015. Iman Jabbour, Gisha’s research director, was interviewed for Israeli Channel 10 news show London and Kirschenbaum, about the measures required in order to allow for economic development in Gaza after eight years of closure.

“Many senior politicians and security officials have said that there has to be hope, there has to be an economic horizon. In the meantime, after Operation Protective Edge, we hear these statements, but we see gaps between the rhetoric and what’s actually happening. We’re saying it’s good, but not good enough”, Jabbour said in the interview.

“Israel has effectively lifted the total ban on the sale of Gaza goods in the West Bank, and it’s still not enough because there’s a very complicated [shipping] process, and these industries need more freedom in order to thrive and employ more people”.

Jabbour added that “in 2007, Israel imposed a total ban on the sale of Gaza goods in both Israel and the West Bank. We wanted to see what could really help these sectors. One of the things that was discussed was the shipping process through Kerem Shalom which is very complicated, costly and impedes profitability. Of course, the other issue is individual travel. People who want to sell can’t just ship goods out. They have to assess the market. They have to meet with West Bank merchants, see what the demand is there. Unfortunately, this isn’t happening yet”.

“One businessman who has an IT company said to me: “You’re asking me about the West Bank. It’s like asking me about another country. You might as well ask me why I don’t do business with Athens. It’s like another country. I can’t get there in time, I can’t get there when it suits me, and I can’t take part in tenders”.

For the full interview (Hebrew).