Gaza to export flowers as Israeli siege continues 19Nov09 November 22, 2009

Ma’an News Agency -  19 November 2009

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Israeli officials informed Palestinian crossings authorities that flower would be permitted for export from the Gaza strip starting 23-24 November, while commercial and humanitarian goods destined for Gaza continue to be restricted.

Flowers were last exported from Gaza on 14 February 2009, following a request from the Netherlands. For three years, most of the flowers produced in Gaza have been fed to local livestock as exports were shut down following the Hamas take-over of the area in 2007.

There was no indication as to how many flowers would be permitted to be sold from the Strip to the international communty, or on whose initiative the relaxed rule is proceeding. Palestinian officials were informed of the move on Thursday, noting the flowers would be flown to their point of sale from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport.

Despite the change in export rules, imports of commercial and humanitarian goods into Gaza remains at one-quarter of pre-siege levels.

On Thursday, Israeli authorities open the Kerem Shalom and Karni crossings in Gaza on Thursday, while Nahal Oz will remain closed, Palestinian officials announced.

Palestinian crossings coordinator Raed Fattouh said between 133-144 truckloads of commercial merchandise and humanitarian aid was expected to be transferred into Gaza through Kerem Shalom.

The aid included 20 trucks carrying 600 calves for the Muslim Eid Al-Adha holiday, during which sheep and calves are traditionally slaughtered.

Fattouh added that 107 truckloads of wheat and fodder would be allowed through Karni.

Israel opened the Kerem Shalom crossing on Wednesday and let in a number of calves, and allowed 250 tons of gas through the Nahal Oz crossing.


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