“The trend on the ground is the opposite of the rhetoric coming from the government”

Caption: Research Director Salah Mohsen, Gisha. Screenshot: Channel 10

Research Director Salah Mohsen, Gisha. Screenshot: Channel 10

August 23, 2016. In an interview (Hebrew) for Israeli television program London and Kirshenbaum, marking two years since the Gaza cease-fire agreement, director of Gisha’s research department, Salah Mohsen, spoke about the possibility of selling Gaza grown vegetables in Israel, and about our new report 360 Degrees.

“Gaza has larger stocks than what is [currently] sold in Israel”, Mohsen said, “The fruit and vegetable shortage around the Jewish high holidays will come, as it does every year, and the Ministry of Agriculture is once again saying it would take measures, such as canceling customs fees. We say: instead of canceling customs and doing it the hard way, we can increase the quotas for produce coming out of Gaza. We speak to Gaza vegetable growers and suppliers on a daily basis, and they have the capacity to double, even triple the quantities as soon as there is a Ministry of Agriculture decision. It could happen tomorrow morning.

“There’s been an increase lately of ‘security preclusions’ against suppliers”, Mohsen added. “There have been cancellations of travel permits given to merchants, some of them very prominent. About 1,500 merchant permits have been cancelled since the beginning of the year, out of a total of 3,500 permits. In addition, there is a wave of ‘security preclusions’ against companies that can’t ship goods into or out of the Gaza Strip. This trend is the opposite of the rhetoric and statements coming from military and government officials”.

Mohsen also spoke about the slow progress of reconstruction and repair of housing units and other buildings destroyed during the last largescale military operation in 2014, as detailed in our report on construction in Gaza.