Several main sectors of Gaza’s economy relied on selling goods outside the Strip, prior to the closure, including the textile, furniture, manufacturing, and agriculture industries. Nowadays, Israel allows the sale of some Gaza-made and -grown goods in the West Bank and in Israel. All goods originating in Gaza are shipped through Kerem Shalom Crossing, between Gaza and Israel.
Under the AMA, signed in 2005, Israel agreed to allow 400 trucks to leave Gaza daily, according to its estimates regarding Gaza’s export potential. In 2005 alone, almost 10,000 trucks left Gaza – most of the goods they were carrying were sold in Israel, about a quarter in the West Bank and the rest overseas.
After the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, Israel banned all shipments of goods out of Gaza, with the exception of a limited number of agricultural products approved for export to Europe as part of a Dutch government sponsored project. Until then, 85% of the goods shipped out of Gaza were sold in Israel and the West Bank. In December 2010, Israel began allowing export of non-agricultural products abroad, including light industry products. However, due to difficulties making business connections with foreign companies as well as high shipping costs, only few non-agricultural products were actually exported abroad.
From the time the closure was imposed in June 2007 to October 2014, a monthly average of 13.5 trucks left Gaza to foreign destinations, most of them carrying agricultural goods – just one percent of the monthly average of goods shipped out just prior to the closure.
On November 6, 2014, for the first time since 2007, Israel allowed Gaza-made and -grown goods to be sold in the West Bank. Permission was initially given only for agricultural goods, but later expanded to the textile and furniture industries. On March 12, 2015, Israel allowed the sale of a few types of agricultural goods from Gaza in its own territory, and on September 21, textile, furniture and scrap metal from Gaza were also allowed for sale in Israel (marketing mostly did not occur because of difficulties relating to tax collection). In 2015, a monthly average of 113 truckloads left Gaza, compared to a monthly average of 18 truckloads in 2014. More than half of the truckloads carried goods for sale in the West Bank, while the rest carried goods meant for Israel and abroad. Despite the increase in the number of trucks exiting Gaza, they still account for only 10.6% of the monthly average of trucks exiting Gaza prior to the closure.
In 2016, an average of 178 truckloads of goods exited Gaza each month, compared to a monthly average of 113 truckloads in 2015 and only 18 truckloads in 2014. More than 60 percent of the goods exiting Gaza were marketed in the West Bank; the rest were marketed in Israel and abroad. Despite the rise in quantities of outgoing goods, the monthly average is still only 17 percent of the monthly average before the closure was imposed.
Text was last updated in October 2021.