Know More About Palestine

Sunday April 19, 2009 11:12 AM (EST+7)

Located east of Gaza City, al-Mintar or Karni crossing is vital for Palestinian trade. It is the largest cargo crossing for goods arriving from abroad and the occupied West Bank. It has also been subject to the strictest Israeli inspection procedures.

Between June 12, 2007 and February 2009, the crossing was closed, except for a conveyer belt carrying feed and grains from one side to another. In February 2009, the conveyor belt was only operational for nine days out of the month.

Prior to Hamaszzz*z takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, procedures were also cumbersome. Vehicles carrying goods were required to fully unload for inspection and then reload - a time consuming process. Strawberries and flowers, which are main agricultural exports from the Gaza Strip, often perished before arriving at their destination because of these long inspection procedures.

The loss to the Palestinian economy from the suspension of exports of strawberries and flowers is estimated at approximately $20 million annually.

The result of Israeli restrictions on products entering Gaza has depleted reserves of flour, wheat, sweets, dairy products, fruit and construction materials. When wheat or cement is allowed to enter, Israeli trucks unload the goods into a large container installed on a conveyer belt, which then transfers the shipment to a similar container on the Palestinian side. This type of exchange between Israelis and Palestinians, where workers on each side do not see each other, is indicative of the atmosphere of suspicion and hostility between the two sides.







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