IDF official says Gaza exports have soared, as Israel seeks to incentivize calm

Military contacts with the Palestinians on Sunday cited steps Israel had taken to strengthen the economy in the Gaza Strip and also thwarted military buildups by terrorist groups there.

In a briefing to reporters, Major General Ghassan Alian, the coordinator of government activities in the province – known by the acronym COGAT – said Israel was using a “consolidated strategy” towards Gaza.

“This strategy includes military efforts to curb the military buildup, along with an active civilian policy aimed at the general public, and seriously striking down any attempt to undermine Israel’s security,” Allian said.

In data shared by COGAT, exports from Gaza to the West Bank were expected to grow by 27 percent this year, continuing a trend. In 2020, the total number of trucks exporting goods from Gaza to the West Bank was 3,397; In 2021 it was 4,003; And it is expected to reach 5,117 by the end of this year.

According to COGAT, exports from Gaza to Israel were also expected to increase by an unprecedented 93.8%. In 2020, about 1,181 truckloads of exporters entered Israel from Gaza; 2,588 in 2021; And this year the number is expected to reach 5,016.

According to COGAT, crossings between Gaza and Israel increased by 311% this year. In 2020, about 122,400 crossings were recorded; This number rises to 163,500 in 2021; And this year that number has risen to 672,000, according to the statistics.

Illustrative: Palestinians from the Gaza Strip enter Israel through the Erez Crossing. (Israel Defense Forces)

Currently, about 14,000 Gazan Palestinians have work permits to enter Israel. The Ministry of Defense has finally signed off on a tentative plan to increase the number of licenses to 20,000, an unprecedented increase. As of mid-2021, only 7,000 Palestinians from Gaza were allowed to work or trade in Israel.

Defense officials say allowing more Gazans to work in Israel would provide much-needed income to the impoverished coastal enclave while promoting stability.

The Gaza Strip has been blockaded by both Israel and Egypt for 15 years in an attempt to stop its ruler Hamas. Israel says the terror group’s efforts to carry out attacks against the Jewish state necessitate stricter restrictions on goods and people.

Critics lamented the blockade’s effect on ordinary Gazans. Skyrocketing poverty rates make it a very attractive option for those lucky enough to obtain permits in Israel.

According to COGAT, Gaza’s local unemployment rate fell by 5.5% to 44.7% last quarter, with the average daily wage rising slightly to NIS 61.7 ($19).

Workers allowed to travel to Israel to work can earn as much as NIS 400 ($115.66) per day, reports Times of Israel sister site Zaman Yisrael.

COGAT Major Major. General Ghassan Aliyan in a video message to Ghazan on August 5, 2022. (Screen capture/COGAT)

According to Allian, after last week’s fighting against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group, Israel “returned to the implementation of a civilian policy towards the Gaza Strip, with limitations on the issue of reconstruction, until progress is made on the disappeared and captured.”

Israel has said it is blocking large-scale reconstruction of Gaza until it returns civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, captured by Hamas after last year’s 11-day war, and the remains of Hadar Golden and Oron Shaul, IDF soldiers killed in the 2014 war. .

Hamas has rejected this condition.

Clockwise from top left: Oron Shaul, Avera Mengistu, Hadar Goldin and Hisham Al-Sayed. (Courtesy of Flash90)

“The residents of Gaza must know that we are not interested in dragging them into a war,” Aliyan said. “And the Israeli security establishment will continue to allow a civilian humanitarian policy towards the Gazans, but this is subject to the protection of security stability.”

“If Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip try to break the peace, Israel’s policy will change accordingly,” he said.

“I suggest the residents of Gaza take a look [the West Bank]And the steps Israel is taking there, and realizing what’s at stake and what’s hurting them because of Hamas,” Allian added.

“Hamas is an enemy of the State of Israel and unfortunately of the residents of Gaza,” he added.

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