Gaza farmers destroy goods bound for Europe

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Farmers in the Gaza Strip on Sunday destroyed three tons of rotten herbs and spices that were to be shipped to markets in Europe before Israel closed the border crossings.

Muhammad Zuweid, a marketing official in Gaza, told Ma’an that three tons of mint, sage, basil, and tarragon were ready to be exported to Europe and waiting at the Kerem Shalom crossing.

After days of closure, the goods expired and became unsafe to use, he said.

Moreover, the herbs are not heavily consumed by local markets. The available amounts exceed the needs of the local markets, which is why they were selected to export abroad.

He explained that the tarragon herb is not used locally, but it is usually exported abroad. Salvia officinalis, or garden sage, was being prepared for export for the first time this year.

Israel closed Kerem Shalom and the Erez passenger crossing on Monday after militants in Gaza fired a rocket across the border.

On Thursday Israel said it would open the Kerem Shalom crossing for four hours on Friday to allow food and gas into the Gaza Strip.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley said Wednesday that the closure was hitting food supplies and would have “serious” effects if continued.

“In response to a deteriorating security situation in and around Gaza … Israel has announced a series of heightened restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from the Gaza Strip, including closures of the Kerem Shalom crossing,” Rawley said.

“These measures are resulting in the depletion of stocks of essential supplies, including basic foodstuffs and cooking gas, and undermine the livelihoods and rights of many vulnerable Gazan families,” he said in a statement.

“If these restrictions continue, the effect upon the Gaza population will be serious.”

(Source / 14.04.2013)

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