Business with Gaza as usual, despite the war and the blockade



   "We have been working with exporters from Gaza since Operation Continuous Edge Protector begins even during filming," A., Israeli customs agent working with food importers from the Gaza said. He spoke as one of several ceasefire was supposed to end the battle was called last week. 

"We are launching all their goods reach the port of Israel, that the transfer of money and even having to pay any customs fee itself, because we know that we are going to pay when things calm," said A .. 

But the next day, after the cease fire evaporates, A. sounds much more hopeful. "This is a very difficult situation. When the cannons roar, I do not know who cares about this," he said. "I am broken, torn between loyalty to our troops on the one hand - all of Gaza would die to save one of our soldiers, but otherwise, try again and again to be good attention, not an animal.". 

Hundreds of Israelis involved in a complex web of commercial ties with Gaza, including farmers, industrialists, exporters, customs brokers and lawyers, has been found in a dire situation last four weeks. While Israel and Hamas killing each other and cause serious property damage, business Gaza-Israel continue if only because Jerusalem did not want a backup of the humanitarian crisis in the region and the risk of upsetting the international community. 

Hamas, which governs Gaza, prefer not to do business with Israel, and Israel felt the same, but the geography and the recent Egyptian hostility to Hamas, give it a good amount of choice. Port of Gaza was closed by the Israeli navy, so that food and medicine can only go through through the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel. 

Although Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing, near farmland and industrial areas hundreds of miles from the Strip. Every day the battle rages, the effort to keep goods moving in Gaza is increasingly desperate. 

"I've worked in Gaza for 15 years," said Haji Yehya Beware, the owner of a company-refrigerated truck in Israel. "Not only the United States, but retailers in Gaza is pretty hard to find too." 

Explains how retailers bring products to Israel only needed during Ramadan, as corvina and salted herring types eaten after fasting of Ramadan. They can be used to get goods to Gaza, so some of them are sold in the West Bank are confused and some simply rot. 

"There are six or seven containers have to take to get stuck in the port of Gaza. Could not enter Gaza. Traders can not get to the border to pick up the merchandise. Outages and lack of electricity is a problem for cooling , too, "said Yehya. 

. "Israel's market is weak today So do not do the job ... Let's get there without reason Lets hope that things calm immediately - for soldiers and innocent civilians, for Arabs and Jews who want peace The problem is our leader "

strictly business 

According Hatoka Shalom, importers who sell to Gaza, "have worked with them for 30 years. They do not identify with a political movement, only with your business. Import and sell them., But now the port and a warehouse full. ship arrives in port and wait, every day that cost thousands of dollars. "

With a population of 1.8 million people living just 60 kilometers from Tel Aviv, Gaza has always been an important part of the economy of Israel, Jerusalem, even after the blockade in 2007 after Hamas seized power in Gaza. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics of Palestine, the value of Israeli products sold in Gaza prior to reach $ 570 million year. 

But Israeli officials do not know the exact number because the goods sent to Gaza is not considered exports. However, the army said that about 45,000 tons of goods arrive there weekly this time a year ago. Sources said that in recent years 400 thousand tons of seeds and 60,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables have in Gaza each year, and more than 40,000 containers of clothes, canned food and medicine. 

Although thousands of tons of goods that are used to Gaza through tunnels from Egypt when it comes to the import laws, Gazans always preferred the route through Israel. In any case, as Egypt has done in the last year and a half to end the smuggling of goods into Gaza, the Israeli market is dominated by the region more than ever. At least 50% of all products made in Israel into Gaza. 

Most companies ask in recent days to reduce the size of their business relationships in Gaza. No company wants to be identified with the enemy. However, Israeli companies are the largest selling their products in the line, but because these items are sold through brokers, companies themselves have little idea of ​​what is happening. 

"We have a relationship with Gaza, but much of the merchandise that ended up in the market there, and do not know how it happened," said one Israeli steel producers. 

Suppliers of raw materials, especially construction building materials, and even more reluctant to divulge details of their sales to Gaza. Not surprisingly - Hamas bunkers need hundreds of miles of tunnels in the amazing amount of concrete, wire and other materials were found and. Although it is assumed that most of it is coming through tunnels from Egypt, Israel produces undoubtedly some materials find their way into the tunnel too. 

Ironically, repeated wars with Israel Hamas to ensure strong demand for building products. More than 4,000 buildings were destroyed and another 21,000 damaged during the last major ground offensive in Gaza Israel in January 2009 reconstruction of this time can be easily translated into larger projects ever built in the west of the Jordan River. 

"Before Hamas took power in 2007, importers of cement will be sold directly to the people in Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing. After Hamas took power, and restrictions on building materials into effect the amount of cement sold decreased from thousands of tonnes to only a few hundred, "said an industry executive Israeli cement. 

"If tomorrow Israel allowed the provider to send the raw materials into Gaza, it will not be able to meet demand.'s Hard to imagine the amount that is required." 

One way street 

The political situation since the rise of Hamas has made trade relations between Israel and the Gaza unilateral. Until 2007, 85% of exports are sold in Israel in Gaza and the West Bank. 

But in the past seven years, Gaza has banned Israeli products, depriving main pockets means to pay for imports. Since 2010, Israel has allowed exports from Gaza sent abroad through the port of Ashdod, the Allenby Bridge to Jordan and Ben-Gurion International Airport, but it is complicated and the number is ignored. 

"The Israeli control of the Gaza Strip is reflected, in part, to prevent the marketing of products in the market of natural Israel and the West Bank, which is only a short distance," said Iman Jabbour, director of Gisha research a Israeli NGO that defends freedom of movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza. "For the economy with the kind of independence, Israel must find a way to leave the Gaza trade with the West Bank." 

Also, the lack of movement to and from Gaza to deter Israel from Gaza and a cheap labor. "Solutions to bring Eritrea to Israel and Thailand only appear after closing Gaza," said Edi Polonsky, head of Kibbutz Or Haner milk in Gaza. 

"We do not stop employing Arabs because they are not good workers One of the best things that can happen to them and us is to open the doors and allow trade between the two sides -. Their children will get the money and we will benefit too . Israel can say 'let the Arabs die, we will not sell to them,' but economically is simply wrong. "

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