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Israel buys first fruit and vegetables from Gaza in eight years

Staff writer ▼ | March 16, 2015
Israel imported its first fruit and vegetables from the Gaza Strip in almost eight years. Israel said its purchases from the Gaza Strip were meant to help the Palestinian economy and make up for a shortfall in Israeli produce.
Gaza fruit
Better relationships   To help the Palestinian economy
Twenty-seven metric tons of tomatoes and five tons of eggplants were trucked across the border under an Israeli plan to bring in around 1,200 tons of produce a month. The Palestinians welcomed the move, though the scale fell short of the some 3,300 tons they said they had previously exported to Israel each month.

Israel had already begun to allow vegetables from Gaza as well as Palestinian merchants to transit across Israel to the West Bank, and to allow Gaza’s farmers to bring tractors in via Israel.

“We hope this will be a new start that will benefit both farmer and economy,” said Tahseen Al-Saqqa, marketing and crossing director in the Gaza ministry of agriculture.

Israel says its blockade is intended to restrict goods that could be used in weapons production and underground tunnels. But the embargo has added to hardship in the dilapidated, arid territory, where more than half the population receive United Nations food aid.