The war on the Gaza Strip stopped about two weeks ago, but Israel’s heavy grip is still confined to the Kerem Shalom crossing, the only commercial port, with a total ban on exports from the Gaza Strip, and the supply of four types of basic materials is limited, while hundreds of other items, which began disappear from the market.
In contrast to this bleak picture of the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is under Israeli control, there is a different picture of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, which has witnessed remarkable activity since the war stopped at dawn on May 21, with which the percentage of imports rose to 17%, in addition to the entry of Egyptian materials and equipment. to Gaza for the first time. Read also Gaza’s fragile economy reeling from raging Israeli war What has the Israeli economy incurred as a result of the current military campaign? Israel… canceling 25 flights that were scheduled to arrive at Ben Gurion Airport today, Monday The numbers are increasing.. The war on Gaza is costing Israel huge economic losses
Israel closed the Kerem Shalom crossing completely with the outbreak of the war on May 10, and although it reopened it four days after declaring the ceasefire, it imposes severe restrictions on the movement of imports and exports, according to officials and economic experts.
The head of the Coordination Committee for the Entry of Goods into the Gaza Strip of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah told Al Jazeera Net that Israel allows only 4 types of materials to enter Gaza, which are basic foodstuffs, medical materials, fuel for cars, and fodder, while completely banning exports.
In response to preventing the export of 15 types of agricultural products from Gaza to the West Bank markets and abroad, for the fourth week in a row, the Ministry of Agriculture led by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in Gaza decided to stop importing fruits from Israel.
According to Fattouh, the Israeli restrictions on the Kerem Shalom crossing also affect the West Bank, which markets from 10 to 15% of its products in Gaza.
Israel had kept Kerem Shalom as the only commercial crossing with Gaza after it closed all other commercial crossings in previous years following its withdrawal from the Gaza settlements in 2005.
Rami Abu Al-Rish, director general of the crossings in the Hamas-run Ministry of Economy in Gaza, told Al Jazeera Net that the occupation is exerting pressure by exploiting its dominance over the crossing, which has serious effects on all aspects of life in the besieged Strip.
Because of Israel’s prevention of supplying fuel to the only power plant in the Strip, two million Palestinians suffer from a stifling electricity crisis, as they receive electricity at a rate of less than 6 hours per day, in addition to its impact on industrial and commercial facilities, according to Abu al-Rish.
He explained that the occupation also prevents the supply of raw materials, which hinders the return of the local economy to spinning again after the destruction of economic, industrial and commercial facilities during the war, which exacerbates the unemployment crisis.
Commercial development at the Rafah crossing
These restrictions on the part of Israel led to a noticeable increase in the prices of many goods and merchandise in Gaza, while other items disappeared from the market, as no alternatives were entered through the Rafah crossing with Egypt, while farmers incur heavy losses as a result of the low prices of their products because they were prevented from exporting. .
Abu al-Rish stressed that the Rafah crossing cannot constitute a substitute for the Kerem Shalom crossing at the present time, and referred to previous calls for the need to develop commercial relations between Gaza and Egypt, which may reach the volume of trade exchange between them annually to more than one billion dollars.
The Rafah crossing is currently operating three days a week at the commercial level, to enter food commodities, fruits and flour, in addition to introducing Egypt for the first time mechanisms and equipment for removing rubble to prepare for a possible reconstruction process, in which Egypt will have a key role.
Despite the remarkable development in the commercial movement at the Rafah crossing with Egypt, the economic researcher Dr. Osama Nofal believes that it should not constitute a substitute for the Kerem Shalom crossing in terms of the political dimension, as this means a complete separation of Gaza from the West Bank, which is rejected by the Palestinians.
Nofal explained to Al Jazeera Net that the Kerem Shalom crossing is special in terms of international aid that reaches Gaza through it and represents 10% of imports, and its closure represents an obstacle to donors, in addition to the fact that there are goods that can only be imported through Israel, such as production inputs such as “egg hatching”. And 70% of the market needs are livestock.
The closure of Kerem Shalom negatively affects the trade exchange between Gaza and the West Bank. While Gaza supplies the West Bank with clothing, furniture and agricultural products, it receives dairy products and other things.
He considered that closing Kerem Shalom constitutes a “political mistake” and absolves Israel of its responsibility as an occupying power obligated to provide Gaza’s basic and humanitarian needs.