update deskIsrael at War

Israel resumes trade with Gaza in shadow of war

On Friday, 150 trucks rolled into Gaza with fruits and vegetables bought by merchants "intended for Hamas members and the civilian population."

Palestinians shop for food in Rafah, the southern Gaza Strip. Nov. 13, 2023. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Palestinians shop for food in Rafah, the southern Gaza Strip. Nov. 13, 2023. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

The Israeli Defense Ministry’s COGAT unit on Thursday approved the resumption of commercial trade with Gaza, with truck deliveries starting the following morning, Walla! News reported on Sunday.

JNS reached out to COGAT for confirmation.

According to the report, 150 trucks loaded with fruits and vegetables from Israel—not humanitarian aid—crossed into Gaza intended for merchants there who purchased the produce “intended for Hamas members and the civilian population.”

After the COGAT approval, Gazan merchants called Israeli packing houses and growers and bought the goods via bank transfers, the report stated, including “very large quantities of onions, carrots and potatoes” from Israel. Tomatoes from Turkey entered the northern Strip through the Erez Crossing via Jordan and Israel.

“On Thursday, we received a message that trade with Gaza is resuming,” a farmer from the south told Walla! News. “We were shocked. Why do we suddenly need to provide them with fresh food? All the marketers in Israel jumped on it. Even the biggest ones. We, the residents from the south, made a decision that we are not cooperating with this.

“Jaber, a merchant I know from Gaza, called me. And he tells me that he needs garlic and a lot of it, and he will pay me by bank transfer. I answered him, ‘Our children are now in your tunnels and you want me to send you garlic?’ I don’t understand who made this delusional decision. This is unacceptable.”

Another merchant from southern Israel spoke to a Gazan who asked to buy goods. “I told him: ‘Bring a hostage, you will get goods,'” he said.

Meir Yafarah, chairman of the Vegetable Growers Association, told Walla! News that there were no onions on the market in Israel, and another merchant said that the resumption of trade raises prices for Israeli consumers, saying that the price of onions jumped 100% and the price of carrots and potatoes jumped by half.

“It is unimaginable that Israelis have to pay more for vegetables because they sold all the goods to Gaza. How are the families of the abductees supposed to feel when they hear such a thing?” the merchant asked.

COGAT said that “since the outbreak of the war, the State of Israel introduced humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza in cooperation with the international organizations and local entities operating in the Strip. This is in coordination with the American government and subject to the approval of the political level. There has been no change in policy, since all the aid that comes in is food, water, equipment for shelters, medicine and medical equipment only.”

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