Sometimes, the absurdity of the situation with regard to Gaza simply leaves us speechless. Case in point: The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has arranged for Gaza farmers to participate in a conference held in Tel Aviv in order to “support the export of produce from Gaza” and expose “buyers from around the world” to Palestinian produce. At the same time, COGAT is the same branch of the military which is in charge of implementing Israel’s policy in the Gaza Strip, a policy that prohibits the sale of goods from Gaza in Israel and the West Bank.
The facilitation of the participation of Palestinian farmers in the conference was a nice initiative. Really. It wouldn’t have been so badly needed if Israel simply allowed Gaza residents to sell their produce in Israel and the West Bank, where 85% of the goods shipped out of Gaza were sold in the past. Instead, 50 farmers from Gaza traveled all the way to Tel Aviv to network with buyers from around the world and with Israeli marketers (who would facilitate the export through Israeli territory eventually). Their produce, on the other hand, won’t make it to Tel Aviv. It’s not allowed.