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Israel lifts Gaza export ban to avert holiday 'crisis'
Published Wednesday 05/10/2011 (updated) 07/10/2011 15:53
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Ultra-orthodox Jews check palm fronds for blemishes at a market
in Tel Aviv, Israel. [MaanImages/Moti Milrod, File]
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israeli officials will temporarily lift a ban on agricultural exports from the Gaza Strip to allow the entry of palm fronds used to mark a Jewish holiday, a newspaper report said Wednesday.

Maariv, a Hebrew-language Israeli daily, said the defense ministry agreed to alllow 100,000 lulavs to enter Israel from Gaza on a "one-time basis" ahead of Sukkot, which starts next week.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak authorized importing the lulavs from Gaza to avert a "crisis" caused by Egypt's refusal this year to approve the sale of the fronds, Maariv reported.

The palm fronds are used for religious rituals during Sukkot. According to Maariv, merchants believe that as a result of Egypt's refusal to approve sales this year, the cost of lulavs will triple.

It was not clear why the fronds would represent any less of a security concern than other agricultural exports, which have been banned from leaving Gaza since 2007 with a few exceptions.

"What a revealing double standard," said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness.

"When Israel's theocratic echelons need agricultural produce for a Jewish religious celebration, imports from Gaza are authorized, yet since June 2007 this has apparently been an insurmountable security threat.

"Now the truth is laid bare," Gunness told Ma'an.

"We have always said that the virtual ban on exports from Gaza is a collective punishment of 1.5 million people which the International Committee of the Red Cross has said is illegal under international law".

Israel's defense ministry did not respond to inquiries from Ma'an, but a spokesperson told Maariv the requests "were examined by the authorized figures in the security establishment and were approved on a one-time basis, but the possibility of executing them in practice is still being looked into."

Egypt has not elaborated on why it is banning exports of the fronds this year. Israel typically imports about 700,000 of them annually, according to Haaretz, another Israeli daily.
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1 ) Colin Wright / USA
05/10/2011 23:44
It'd serve Israel right if Gaza refused to export them. Maybe some moneybags like Saudi Arabia could offer to 'buy' the palm fronds in Israel's place.

2 ) Malone / Hfx
06/10/2011 03:30
Fine then...tell them to shove their palm fronds...their loss.

3 ) Malone / Hfx
06/10/2011 03:34
There are palm trees in Israel,why import from so called pallyland?

4 ) Carlos / USA
06/10/2011 11:44
This is ridiculous! Israel strangles Gaza everyday causing untold suffering but will lift siege for "emergency" palm frond shortage. When I read the title I thought it was to allow food into Gaza. Israel is terror and criminal and self centered. Like my mother used to say "sin verg?enza" and it was not a compliment.


5 ) southparkbear / usa
06/10/2011 20:49
this is a nice geusture on behalf of the israei gov. after all why should we cut trees in israel and pay $15 an hour when we can get that for nickles and dimes from gaza

6 ) Colin Wright / USA
06/10/2011 21:27
'Egypt has not elaborated on why it is banning exports of the fronds this year....' Presumably, because Israel is so deeply unpopular that it couldn't be done without causing strife.

7 ) Mel / USA
07/10/2011 16:54
Palm fronds? Riiiight! Nazi Israel opens the gates of Gaza Auschwitz,to let the prisoners sell their prison crafts,for a Jewish holiday,while blocking Muslim prayer,with guns,at Al Aqsa?Gaza!U should have refused 2 sell the fronds 2 Israel&told them 2 go jump!! Isrl drops missiles/bombs,on Gaza,murders your children(still in the womb too),terrorizes an trapped population&still wants U to sell them Palm fronds? Screw that blood money!Why is anyone,of humane heart,selling anything to Israel?

8 ) southparkbear / usa
09/10/2011 22:43
hehehe mel, you have not said the word nazi enough times today
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