Israel to Allow Agricultural Exports From Gaza in First Since Escalation

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The Kerem Shalom Gaza border crossing, in May.
The Kerem Shalom Gaza border crossing, in May.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Israel is allowing a reduced amount of agricultural exports to leave the Gaza Strip starting Monday, marking the first time since last month's hostilities that goods are permitted to be exported from the Strip.

The move was announced by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories on Sunday evening after a security assessment, and approved by the political leadership.

The products, which will move through the Kerem Shalom border crossing, are bound for the West Bank and foreign states; trade has not yet been renewed between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Israel is also allowing a one-time export of textiles from Gaza to Israeli businesses. Merchants within Israel, seeking to prevent economic damage, have recently been requesting that textiles be allowed in from the Strip.

After the last round of fighting between Israel and Hamas, Israel renewed the transfer of humanitarian aid to the Strip, and reopened Gaza's fishing zone after it had been closed at the beginning of the escalation. Israel also permitted Palestinians to leave the strip to receive life-saving medical care in Israel, and opened the Erez crossing to employees of international organizations and foreign journalists.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said last month that he intends to condition any non-humanitarian aid to Gaza on solving the issue of Israeli captives held by Hamas in the Strip.  

“We have to permit the basic humanitarian response in the Gaza Strip as much as necessary,” Gantz said at a media briefing. But Hamas is still holding two Israeli civilians, Hisham al-Sayed and Avera Mengistu, and the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, within the territory.

Until a process to return the captives begins, Gantz called to leave Gaza on the "basic humanitarian threshold."

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