A Lavi organization freedom of information request revealed that — apart from letting hundreds of trucks a week into the Gaza Strip, whose goods are inspected in Ashdod harbor — since the 2014 Gaza war there has been more than a tenfold jump in the entry of goods from Gaza to Israel.
The number of trucks that passed from Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing into the State of Israel in 2014 was 232, and this number jumped to 1,461 in 2015 and 2,680 in 2017. The first half of 2018 has already seen 1,728 trucks entering Israel from Gaza.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) responded to Lavi’s inquiry saying there is no restriction on the identity of those wishing to bring goods into Israel, and that it is entirely possible that Gazan terrorist organizations are carrying out trade with Israeli citizens.
The Lavi organization requested the names of the merchants who are authorized to import goods from Gaza into the State of Israel, to which COGAT replied that they did not possess such information
“There is no list of authorized merchants, since, generally speaking, there is no restriction on those wishing to trade [with Gaza],” COGAT noted.
The Lavi organization, which disclosed the data, said in response that they are calling on Defense Minister Liberman to order a halt on exports from Gaza to the State of Israel.
“It is the right of every Israeli citizen to know the list of brands entering from Gaza into Israel, and to decide whether they wish to consume products originating in Gaza.”
“It is entirely unacceptable that the list of goods exported from Gaza to Israel is not made transparent to the general public,” Lavi stated.
According to COGAT, the bulk of the goods from the Gaza Strip are routed to Judea and Samaria, apparently to the Arab population living there. Of the approximately 8,000 trucks leaving the Gaza Strip in the past three and a half years, fewer than a third (2,665) were destined to addresses inside green line Israel.
The main commodities exported from Gaza in the past year have been agricultural produce (3,260 tons) and iron scrap (4,273 tons). Other goods shipped from Gaza are textiles, food, and furniture.