As Purim approaches, thousands of Israeli children and families grapple with poverty
With the exception of bananas and apples, fruit will no longer be brought from Israel to Gaza is, according to the Agriculture Ministry on Monday.
But the story is not one of the victimization of fruit-loving Arabs by the strong arm of Israel, but rather of a severe ban imposed by the Hamas government on locals for the purpose of “resisting” the Jewish state and causing Gaza residents to rely on Gaza agriculture to meet their need for produce.
The ban will result in a 50 percent cut in imports. The estimated value of fruit sales to Gaza in 2011 was $26 million.
While Hamas says the ban is related to Israel’s refusal to allow Gaza to export its produce to the world, Israel categorically denied the claim, saying requests to export agricultural products from Gaza are almost never denied.
Gaza fruit importers decried the Hamas ban as difficult on Gazans who have little local fruit to choose from, and said that the advance payments they made to Israeli fruit suppliers would likely be lost.
Since the ban went into effect on Friday, the price of peaches doubled, with the price of dates rising 57%.
About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
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