Hamas informed Gazan merchants on Tuesday that it would stop fruit imports from Israel from entering Gaza starting Wednesday, Kan Newsreported.
The move comes in response to Israel’s closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing for non-humanitarian cases and in an attempt by Hamas to cause economic damage to Israeli farmers who are exporting fruit to Gaza. On average, 30-40 truckloads of fruit enter Gaza daily, according to Kan News.
No word on whether the ban includes fruit juice.
In other news, that’s one hell of a failed “blockade” if 30-40 truckloads of fruit have been entering Gaza daily until now.
This is yet another example of the palestinians cutting off their nose to spite their face; back in 2012 when they halved fruit imports from Israel, it was reported just how damaging that was to some Gazans:
The ban is opposed by Gazan produce traders who fear a squeeze on supplies and price hikes in the poor coastal enclave, which has a largely black market economy and lacks viable trade with Egypt, its other neighbor.
Gaza fruit importer Jaber Al-Shanty said the Hamas government ban was “irresponsible and unrealistic” as it overlooked the losses to hundreds of Palestinians whose livelihood depends on marketing the fruit.
“The local product is not nearly enough” to offset the shortfall, he said. “What do we have in large quantities, other than guava?”
Shanty said he and other importers had made advance payments to Israeli suppliers that would now be difficult to claim back.
Hikmat Abu Al-Qombuz, another importer, predicted spiralling fruit prices – which Gaza, most of whose 1.6 million Palestinians depend on aid, can ill afford.
Gaza dates and guava grower Ibrahim Al-Shaer, 52, said the move would help farmers by raising prices. But he admitted some imports from Israel remained vital.
“Israeli fruits compete with our produce in the market and they push down the prices. The government should allow imports at a reasonable level so the prices of our fruits do not go down sharply,” Shaer said as he stood in his field in Mawasi in southern Gaza.
At least there will be no more watermelon surplus issue.
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