The opening of the Gaza export season

Gaza's winter export season began today, November 27, 2011. A limited number of Gaza farmers are preparing to export flowers, peppers, tomatoes and strawberries to Europe as part of a project funded by the Dutch government. The transfer of goods is an exception to the ban on export that Israel has imposed since June 2007. Last year (November 2010-May 2011), Israel allowed farmers to export 290 truckloads in total – a negligent amount economically speaking. Even if this year's plan for agricultural export is fully implemented – which is highly unlikely – it would allow fewer than 5 trucks per day for the entire season – just 1% of the promise in the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access to allow 400 truckloads of export each day.
Profitable deals that Israel is blocking include marketing citrus fruit to West Bank grocers and textiles to Israeli companies. Gisha notes that since all exports from Gaza to Europe via Israel undergo comprehensive security checks and meet all required standards, it is hard to imagine any security rationale behind the ban. In fact, Israeli security officials attribute the ban to a political decision to separate Gaza from the West Bank.

To read the press release »
For up-to-date information on the Gaza closure, see Gisha's Gaza Cheat Sheet »
For graphs detailing outgoing goods from Gaza, click here »