Israel renews permission for one truckload of tomatoes to be exported from Gaza to Saudi Arabia

March 18, 2012, Israel renewed permission for limited tomato export from the Gaza Strip to Saudi Arabia. One truckload of tomatoes will leave Kerem Shalom Crossing for the Allenby Bridge border crossing after the produce undergoes all required inspections.

The tomatoes belong to Abed Al Rauf Abu Safar, a merchant from the Gaza Strip who, until 2007, marketed hundreds of truckloads of vegetables to Israel and the West Bank every year. About a month ago, Abu Safar exported tomatoes to Saudi Arabia but claims he incurred a loss due to the security arrangements and the distance the produce had to travel.

Gisha welcomes any expansion of export from the Gaza Strip and the development of new markets for products made in Gaza. However, it is important to note that Gaza goods already have well established markets in the West Bank and Israel. Until 2007, more than 85% of the goods marketed outside Gaza were sold in Israel and the West Bank. For the past five years, there has been a ban on selling goods to these destinations with the exception of a single case, earlier this month, when date bars were transported from Gaza to the West Bank.