Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sadie Goldman, "Israel's dependence on Gaza," IPF, April 9, 2008.

Recommended by Sam Bahour at ePalestine

When Shalom Simhon heard that government officials were discussing cutting Gaza off from receiving Israeli goods, he could not have been too surprised. After all, as Israel’s Minister of Agriculture, he has faced one obstacle after another as he has tried to build Israel’s farming sector.

From the smuggling of rancid eggs to the illegal importation of Iranian pistachios (which enraged the United States) to the impact of army firing zones on Bedouin grazing land, he is used to being caught in the middle of situations not directly involved with Israeli farming. Nonetheless, while attention was being paid to the disastrous effect Israel's blockade would have on Gaza, Simhon thought of the effect it would have on Israel’s farmers.

“The state of Israel produces one and a half times its agricultural needs. Half of the surplus is exported to Europe and America. The rest goes to the territories—half to the West Bank, half to Gaza,” Simhon said in an interview to Nahum Barnea in Yediot Acharonoth on Friday.

That puts exports to the West Bank and Gaza right behind those to the France and Italy—around $1 billion in 2006 according to Meron Rapoport’s February 10th article in Haaretz.

In other words, for Israeli farmers, the Gaza situation is more than just a security issue. It’s about their livelihood.

Read the whole article at the Israel Policy Forum--"promoting Middle East peace--for Israel and for the United States" =>
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