Israel Allows More Exports From Gaza in Effort to Slowly Ease Blockade

Farmers, private businessmen to be allowed to export goods even if they aren't labeled as 'international projects.'

Israel will allow farmers and private businessmen to export goods from Gaza for the first since Hamas took power over the coastal enclave, Army Radio quoted an Israeli defense official as saying on Thursday.

The goods will be allowed to exit Gaza even if they are not labeled as an "international project" – which was previously the sole way such exports were allowed by Israel.

By Sunday, Gaza will be ready to export goods such as peppers, and according to the defense official, Israel will work to continue easing the Gaza blockade slowly.

Gaza truck border cross
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The most recent move was made following a cabinet decision to allow exports from Gaza, and also due to requests made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Two weeks ago, the security cabinet approved to significantly increase exports of goods from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank and abroad.

The exports, which were to occur through the Kerem Shalom crossing point in southern Gaza, were to include three types of goods: furniture, farming products and light industry products.

The exports from Gaza to foreign countries were to be unrestricted, while exports to the West Bank were to be for specific projects in coordination with the Palestinian Authority.

Additionally, PA inspectors were to begin to work in the Keren Shalom crossing, and oversee the collection of import taxes and the export of goods from Gaza to the West Bank, which marked the first return of PA officials to the Gaza Strip since the Hamas takeover in June 2007.