Israel has allowed a limited resumption of trade exports from the besieged Gaza Strip in what it called a “conditional” measure, a month after the truce halted an 11-day offensive in the strip.
“After a security assessment, a decision has been made for the first time since the end of (the fighting) to allow … (the) limited export of agricultural products from the Gaza Strip,” COGAT said. , a branch of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Monday.
COGAT said the measure was approved by the government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and “was conditional on the preservation of security stability.”
Palestinian officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to the media, said 11 clothes trucks were exported through the Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing for the first time. once in 40 days. On Sunday, Israel said it would limit agricultural exports from Gaza.
The moderation also included the resumption of postal service inside and outside Gaza, according to Saleh al-Zeq, an official on the Palestinian Authority’s liaison committee. Thousands of passports and papers have been delayed since fighting broke out between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian group that rules Gaza, on May 10th.
However, there are other restrictions imposed by Israel and they are affecting different sectors of Gaza.
On Monday, a Pepsi bottling plant said it was shutting down and laying off 250 workers because the raw materials needed to stay in business were kept away. Instead, the company will import products already made from its factory in the occupied West Bank.
“Raw materials have not been allowed. We have been waiting for them for 60 days, ”said Hammam Alyazji, the factory’s development director. Materials include carbon dioxide and syrup.
The resumption of exports does not include fish, said Nezzar Ayyash of the fishermen’s union. He said Israel reduced fishing by more than half, keeping it at six nautical miles (11 kilometers) instead of 37 miles (20 miles), as agreed in the Oslo Accords.
“This is very bad for the livelihood of fishermen; purchasing power is low in Gaza and fishermen barely make up for fuel costs, ”he said.
Other restrictions include a limit on the number of medical patients who can receive treatment in Israel or the occupied West Bank.
“Without intending to resolve the humanitarian crisis”
After a meeting with UN mediators, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya al-Sinwar said the easing of Israeli restrictions was not enough and did nothing to change the situation in Gaza, and he noted that Israel continues to block international aid as well as critical fuel. deliveries required for the power plant.
“The meeting was bad, it was not at all positive,” he told reporters.
“They listened to us carefully, but there are no indications that there are intentions to resolve the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip,” Sinwar added.
He added that Israel was “blackmailing” Hamas in exchange for a greater lifting of restrictions.
Apparently, Sinwar was referring to Israel’s position that a major improvement in Gaza depended on Hamas releasing two Israelis and the bodies of two soldiers it holds captive. Sinwar said he told the UN’s top regional envoy, Tor Wennesland, that Hamas “will not accept it.”
Israel maintains strict controls on Gaza crossings, with the support of neighboring Egypt, citing threats from Hamas. Israeli restrictions intensified during the May fighting, effectively halting all exports.
Sinwar also accused Israel of maintaining aid from Qatar, which in recent years has funded hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Gaza reconstruction projects.
“It seems that the occupation (Israel) did not understand our message and that we may need to carry out popular resistance to pressure the occupation,” Sinwar said.
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett did not comment on Sinwar’s statements.
Bennett, who was sworn in last week and replaced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israel would not tolerate a resumption of hostilities on Sunday in a memorial service for Israeli soldiers killed in the 2014 Gaza war.
“We will not tolerate a few rockets. We will not show tolerance or exercise of restraint towards the split factions, “he said, referring to past attacks by armed groups other than Hamas.
“Our patience has run out.”
Egypt and the United Nations stepped up mediation last week after Israeli airstrikes ravaged the Gaza Strip, challenging the fragile ceasefire.
The war killed 257 Palestinians, including 66 children. Thirteen people died in Israel, including two children.