Israel allows increased trickle of goods into Gaza

16 Jul

318626C

Israel allows 650 truckloads of goods into Gaza (MaanImages/File)

Israel’s strict blockade has destroyed the economy in the Gaza Strip and has made it near impossible for the strip’s 1.8 million residents to recover from three wars over the last six years.

The vital Kerem Shalom crossing is regularly closed by Israeli authorities for alleged security reasons as well as during many national Israeli holidays according to Israeli watchdog Gisha.

As of June, UNOCHA reported that only 1 percent of the construction materials required to rebuild houses destroyed and damaged during hostilities last summer had entered Gaza so far – highlighting the urgent need to build international pressure to not merely ease Israel’s inhumane siege on Gaza, but to end it.

 

Ma’an News Agency report, Gaza City, 15 July 2015

Israeli authorities opened the Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza on Wednesday enabling 650 truckloads of goods to enter, a Palestinian crossings official said.

Raed Fattouh, head of the Palestinian coordination committee for the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip, said that the Israeli authorities would allow the goods to enter for the commercial, agriculture and transportation sectors.

Around 650 truckloads of goods pass through the crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip each weekday, according to COGAT.

Wednesday’s shipment reportedly includes 100 truckloads of gravel to help rebuild Gaza’s infrastructure as part of Qatari-funded reconstruction projects.

An estimated 10,000 tons of diesel, another Qatari donation, currently being stored in Egypt, will also be transferred to the Gaza power station through Kerem Shalom.

Wednesday’s goods delivery comes amid the the gradual expansion of the crossing by Israel to enable a steady increase of goods allowed to cross into the strip since 2010, according to a spokesperson for COGAT.

Prior to the expansions, the crossing only allowed around 150 truckloads in daily, as documented by Gisha.

However, Kerem Shalom is the only commercial crossing currently operating out of four that were used prior to the imposition of a blockade by Israel in 2007, and the international community has voiced concern that a continuation of the blockade will lead to further conflict.

Israeli policy often defines basic construction materials such as gravel, steel bars, and cement, along with a wide range of spare parts, computer equipment, and vehicles, as “dual use” items, restricting their import for security reasons, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

Such designations as well as the strict blockade have destroyed the economy in the Gaza Strip and have made it near impossible for the strip’s 1.8 million residents to recover from three wars over the last six years.

The vital crossing is regularly closed by Israeli authorities for alleged security reasons as well as during many national Israeli holidays according to Israeli watchdog Gisha.

As of June, UNOCHA reported that only 1 percent of the construction materials required to rebuild houses destroyed and damaged during hostilities last summer had entered Gaza so far.

 

This version corrects that the Kerem Shalom crossing has not been closed since June as originally reported, but was closed briefly in June according to an Israeli army spokesperson at the time. (Ma’an)

%d bloggers like this: