Israel reopens for Gaza produce imports
A shortage of local produce and a need for post-war recovery were two of the reasons behind Israel's decision to imports of fruits and vegetables from Gaza, news agency Reuters reported.
The move brings an end to a blockade that has been in place since Hamas took over the territory in 2007, the story reported.
Israeli officials told Reuters much of their country's land had been left fallow this lunar calendar year in accordance with Jewish law, while the market re-opening was also designed to help the Gaza economy rebuild after last year's war.
Gaza Vegetable Production and Export Association director Jamal Abu al-Naja told the agency he hoped the measure would make up for farmers' losses, and encourage farms to seek bank financing for expansion.
Israeli agency COGAT said a shipment of Gaza-grown tomatoes and eggplants would come from the territory on Sunday.
"Future stages are expected to include a wider variety of vegetables, totaling 1,000 to 1,500 tons. Each ton is valued at approximately 3,000 shekels ($750)," COGAT was reported as saying in a statement.
"The steps taken are meant to support the Palestinian population while segregating the Hamas organization, which is a terror entity that prevents the reconstruction of Gaza and uses its resources," COGAT head Major-General Yoav Mordechai was quoted as saying.